Monday, 21 July 2008

Scones, Ancient and Modern

So the debate raged around the tea-table on Saturday evening. Which scones were best; my usual "vintage" scones, recipe taken from Home Cookery Illustrated OR the new-fangled receipt, "Lily's Scones" from How to be a Domestic Goddess? It was a split vote and passions were high. The DH and the eldest preferred the vintage variety, saying they had a better "scone-y" taste, even though they were not as light as the modern scones. The FIL declared their preference to be stupid in the extreme, citing "Lily's Scones" to be of supreme and undeniable lightness, which is what you want from a scone. The youngest girl just piled on the jam and, as usual, agreed with her grandpa. As "chief cook and bottle washer" I just sat on the fence, not wanting to be too partial lest I blew my own trumpet...although I am inclined to agree with the FIL, I was impressed by the lightness of the modern scones. Anyway, here are the recipes gentle reader, just in case you fancy joining in with the great scone debate! Scones Ancient
1/2 lb flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 oz butter
2 oz caster sugar
2 oz currants
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1 egg
3/3 tea cup full of milk.

Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees and grease a baking tray.
Mix baking powder, flour and spice and sift them. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs and there is no flour left. Stir in the currants and sugar. Mix to a dough with a well-beaten egg and the milk (reserve a little of this). Roll out to 1 inch thick and cut scones out with a biscuit cutter. Brush over with milk and egg and sprinkle with caster sugar when almost done. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Scones Modern (Sorry No Picture!)
500g flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarb
4 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
50g cold butter, diced
25 g Trex (I used lard)
300 ml milk
1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 7

Sift the flour, salt, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Rub in fats til it goes like damp sand. Add milk all at once, mix briefly - brifely being the operative word - then turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough.

Roll out to about 3 cm thickness. Dip the cutter into some flour, then stamp out at least ten scones. You get 12 in all from this, but may need to reroll for the last 2. Place on a baking tray very close together - the ideas is they bulge and stick together on cooking - then brush the tops with the egg-wash. Put in the oven and cook for ten minutes or until risen and golden.

You should always eat scones fresh from the oven as they don't keep well. However, you can freeze them and re-heat them for ten minutes once defrosted in a medium oven.
Serve with butter, jam or clotted cream or any combination of these three!


Zillah said...

Ah, lovely. I'm suffering from being unable to eat egg at the moment - it disagrees with baby E - and I am really missing scones and cake. I'm trying out egg-free cake recipes, but no great success so far. I fear my verdict on the great scone debate may be some time away!

We're off to the west country for the sea-side at the end of the week. My challenge is to find as many ways as possible to enjoy clotted cream without involving eggs!


Dulce Domum said...

Oh Zillah, I know how you feel! The little 'un was egg-free for ages, and I couldn't eat them because I breast fed for over two years!!! Look out for "splits" whilst you are on your Cornish jaunt, they're yeast based and have no eggs in them. If that bakin' hubby of yours wants the recipe in order to treat you when you come home, I'm happy to provide one!

~~Louise~~ said...

Hi Dulce,
Thank you so much for sharing these two recipes. Of course I have to leave the tasting up to you and your family (you lucky family:) but, I think I like the simplicity of the "vintage variety." Another keeper. Thanks! Could you clarify the milk portion in the first recipe.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Louise
Start out with around 5 fl oz/100 ml, adding a little more if the dough is still too dry. You're looking for a nice soft dough, but one which you can handle quite easily.

Zillah said...

You're on for those 'splits', always like to give DH a chance to broaden his skills! Will look out for them in Cornwall.

I'm also an 'extended' breast-feeder, so anticipate a rather long sojourn with the egg-free treats. How is the little 'un with them now?


Dulce Domum said...

Hi Zillah
The little 'un is very happy with eggs now, but it took until her 4th birthday until I was happy with introducing them back into her diet. Now, at 4 years 7 months, she will have a boiled egg and soldiers for breakfast, without any adverse reactions. Her eczema seems to have settled down now, thank God. I have a few egg free treat-y recipes, but I think I've gone baking crazy as a reaction to my new egg-tastic lifestyle!lol!

I'll print the recipe for splits sometime tonight!

Gumbo Lily said...

My biscuit recipe (scone) doesn't include egg. I agree, I like them fresh from the oven.