I always thought the triangle shaped scones I ate in American Coffee Cafes were how traditional English scones were supposed to be. Fruited, dry, crumbly or dense, and drizzled with a glaze. I enjoyed but this was all I knew until I traveled extensively throughout the UK and found out there is a huge difference between their scones and our American scones.
English scones are simpler, have less butter, less sugar, fluffier, and usually round like American biscuits. English scones are very rarely made with fruit but you can find them made with raisins or currants. They are also usually topped with clotted cream or jam. Yum, yum, yummmmm! Ever since trying these, they are my favorite treat with coffee or tea.
I have tweaked my recipe to be a tad more complicated than what the English do, but they are still simple and perfectly flaky and moist. I will give you what I do and then add suggestions. Cheers!
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup sour milk (English scones are made with sour milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
more cream for brushing
3/4 cups raisins, currants, golden raisins, or your favorite fruit
1 (8 oz) package cold cream cheese chopped
1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. I use a sifter to incorporate all the dry ingredients or you can use a whisk.
2. In another bowl, add 1 egg, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk all together and set aside.
3. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the cold butter (cut into small pieces before adding) until the butter is incorporated in the dry ingredients and butter pieces are now about the size of a pea. Do not over do this!!
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Your dough will be shaggy. Add optional ingredients at this point. Do not over mix.
5. Coat your hands with flour and gently fold the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold into layers about 5 times. Shape dough into about a 6 to 8 inch circle.
6. With a biscuit cutter or use a drinking glass, start cutting out circles of dough. You can even use a sharp knife and cut out squares/rectangles of dough.
7. Place on a baking sheet which has been lined with parchment paper. Scones need to be about 3 inches apart from each other.
8. Freeze them for 30 minutes or place in fridge for 45 minutes. I do this when making biscuits as well.
9. 15 minutes before scones are done freezing/chilling, turn on oven to 425 degrees F.
10. Once oven is preheated, take scones out of freezer/fridge and brush with heavy cream. Do not let the cream drip down the sides as this will affect the rise of the scone.
11. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 and then turn the heat down to 375 and bake for another 8-15 minutes. Do not open the oven door and DO NOT OVER BAKE! Just stay close to the oven and quickly peak in if you have the need. Your scones will have a nice golden brown bottom. Use a spatula to lift up an check.
12. Remove from the oven and let them set up on the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool more. Top with clotted cream and jam!! Delish!!
NOTE: Heavy cream is also known as whipping cream. For savory scones, use a wee bit less sugar. Scones freeze very well. Use 3 teaspoons of baking powder if not using cream of tartar and baking soda. If using fruit, like raisins, you may want to soak them a bit and chop them up. Be careful when using fresh fruit, you do not want a lot of liquid. I think frozen fruit has too much liquid and do not cook in scones as well. I have used fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries and have always had good luck. To make sour milk, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk, stir and let stand for 5 minutes.
Enjoy!! Cheers, Drew Frederic