The Lemon Curd is in the refrigerator chilling and now I’m ready to make the scones. Today, I’m in the mood for a classic English scone. Nothing fancy. No lavender honey scones. No chocolate chips and hazelnuts. Not even currants. Just flaky, buttery, warm from-the-oven scones. You can get creative if you want to (and I’ll even give you some suggestions at the end), but for me, it’s the basic.
Classic English Scones are not the dry, triangular-shaped muffiny things you find in a lot of coffee shops. They are more like the American biscuit so common in the South – but made with butter and not shortening. It takes a light hand. You do not want to overwork the dough building up the gluten, making them tough. Some people prefer working the butter in with their hands. I prefer a food processor. Not only is it quicker, but the heat from your hands, makes the butter too soft and the scones are less likely to be flaky.
CLASSIC ENGLISH SCONES
Preheat the oven to 425°. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (depending upon size). Makes 8 to 12 (again depending upon size).
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar*
6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 beaten egg
Preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheet. I prefer parchment paper to greasing a baking sheet. Combine all the dry ingredients. With a fork, pastry blender, or in a food processor, cut in the very cold cubed butter until the flour mixture is blended and about the size of a pea. (Yes, my cuppa tea is always around.) Do not overwork the dough. You should be able to see bits of butter.
Make a well in the center of the bowl. Mix the buttermilk and beaten egg and, with a fork, quickly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Again, quickly form a round, smooth ball, after kneading a few times.
Roll to about 1/2″ thick. With a biscuit cutter, tuna fish can, or glass (whatever you have), cut out the scones. Again, you decide how big and how thick you want them to be. (They can be frozen at this point and then baked at another time.)
Brush the tops with cream (or beaten egg white) and then sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake at 425° in the center of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack and then serve with the delicious lemon curd you prepared earlier (or strawberry jam, whipped cream, etc.). Don’t limit your imagination.
Now it’s time to put the kettle on and enjoy!!
Optionial ingredients: You can add any combination of the following – dried currants, raisins, cranberries, blueberries, mini chocolate chips, mini white chocolate chips, chopped nuts, orange peel, vanilla, lemon peel, dried lavender buds.
*To make savory scones, omit sugar. Add grated cheddar cheese, or chopped prosciutto, maybe fold in chutney, or herbs. Let your imagination run wild.
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