01 09 10

search you little tarte

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wedding Fever: Day 4

What would British Week be without scones?  In fact, what would England be without scones?  Let's face it, besides Burberry, scones are Great Britain's greatest export.  Well, maybe not quite its greatest export, but scones are up there.

Speaking of Burberry, did you see Kate in that fabulous Burberry trench with the ruffled bottom?  Needless to say, it was sold out in 20 seconds after she wore it.  Who doesn't love Burberry anyway?

But I digress.  I love a good scone.  I like the American version of the scone, but I love English scones.  The scones are small, not too sweet,  and light as air.   Traditional scones are like little pillows of flour and butter.  They're dense but still very airy.  They often have nice little add ins like currants.   

The American version of the scone is not quite so delicate.  Where English scones are small and delicate, there's not a whole lot of delicate going on on this side of the pond.  I was in a bakery the other day and they had s'mores flavored scones.  No, I am not kidding.  No self respecting British baker would make a s'mores flavored scone.  In fact, the words s'mores and scones should never be used in the same sentence much less in the same food.

It's not  hard to make a good scone.  The key is keeping the butter cold.  When  the cold butter interacts with the heat of the oven, the scone puffs up and the end result is light as air.  A proper English scone has just a hint of sweetness.  If you decide to add currants, don't go overboard.  About 1/4 of a cup will do the job nicely and add just a touch more sweetness.  I like to add a touch of fresh lemon zest.  It adds a nice brightness to the scone.

I am a purist.  I like a plain scone with just a dab of jam.  You can also have them with clotted cream, which is how I am sure they will be served to Will and Kate on their big day.  Why mess with tradition?

Recipe:  Traditional British Scones


2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, grated, optional
2 tablespoons heavy cream for brushing
1/4 cup currants, optional


Preheat oven to 375F.

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Working quickly and using your hand, work in the butter until the mixture is the size of peas.  Add the milk, egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, and currants (if using) to the flour mixture.  Stir to combine.  Turn mixture out onto a floured board and knead 10-15 times, until it is smooth.  Pat the dough into a round about 3/4 inch thick.  Using a round cutter, cut the dough into individual scones or cut into 8 wedges.  Brush the surface of each scone with a little of the heavy cream and sprinkle with just a touch of sugar.

Place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden.

No comments:

Post a Comment