For a small unsuspecting slightly-sweet roll, scones (or should I say scones) stir up a fair amount of contention. First there’s the pronunciation. Does it rhyme with con or cone? A YouGov poll revealed that 51% say scone (con) and 42% say scone (cone). Hardly conclusive. Apparently, geography has little to do with it and neither does class. The truth is, you’ll say it the same way that your parents say it, and they the same way theirs. There’s no right way. But for the record, I say scone.
Jam first? Or cream first? Here’s where diplomacy gets thrown out the window. According to someone on the internet, Devonshire folk prepare their scones cream first and Cornish folk prepare theirs jam first. Not true. There are many Devonians who enjoy their scones jam first, and Cornish vice versa. Which brings us no closer to agreeing on which way is the right way. Except there is a right way. And it’s jam first. If me saying that the right way is jam first is not quite enough to convince you, then here’s a little something that may push you over the line: the Queen takes her scones jam first. And if it’s good enough for the Queen, then it’s good enough for me.
RECIPE: English Scones
SOURCE: Mary Berry’s Scones
FLAVOUR PROFILE: Lightly sweetened bready cake.
GOES GREAT WITH: Lashings of jam and a thick dollop of clotted cream.
NOTES: When brushing the tops of the scones with the reserved egg mix, make sure that the mixture doesn’t dribble down the sides of the scone as this will impede the rising.
- 225g (8oz) FLOUR
- 1 heaped tsp. BAKING POWDER
- 40g (1.4oz) BUTTER, cold and chopped into small cubes.
- 25g (0.9oz) WHITE GRANULATED SUGAR
- 1 EGG, large
- 115ml (4oz) MILK (approx.)
- Preheat the oven to 210c.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the FLOUR and BAKING POWDER. Add the BUTTER. With your fingertips, rub the butter through the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the SUGAR.
- In a jug, beat the EGG, then add the MILK so that the total amount (of milk and egg) measures 150ml.
- Gradually add the EGG MIXTURE (reserving a few tablespoons for later) to the dry ingredients, stirring until you have a soft dough. Ideally, you want the dough to be quite wet and sticky. This will give you a better rise in your scones.
- Now you want to handle the dough as little as possible. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Bring it together and flatten so that it is 2cm thick. Stamp out rounds, using a 5cm cookie cutter, and lift onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Gently pull the off-cuts together, knead lightly, roll and cut until all the dough is used up.
- Brush the tops with the RESERVED EGG MIXTURE.
- Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. These are best eaten immediately, but will keep for a couple of days if kept in an air-tight container.