Saturday, February 26, 2011

Recipe: Mum Bakes Comfort Scones

The Australian sort.  None of your solid, sour, North American biscuits here.

1 3/4 cup self raising flour
1/3 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
80 grams butter - diced
3/4 cup buttermilk*
extra flour to dust ledge

Jam (Strawberry is classic.  Apricot is good.)
Cream (Gippsland double cream is thick and fabulous.)
Vanilla and sugar if you're feeling decadent.

Essential Equipment
Flour sifter
Small scone cutter (>2 inches diameter)

*If you can't obtain buttermilk, use the same amount of regular milk, stirred with 2 teaspoons white vinegar.

Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees C.

Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the dry ingredients.  Cut the butter into the flour with a knife, and use your fingertips to work the butter into the flour, working quickly until you have a bowl of fine crumbs, without any loose unmixed flour at the bottom of the bowl.

Add the buttermilk and stir gently with a spoon until the mixture is just congealed and no further.

Note: There is no yeast or extra baking powder in this recipe - scones require a delicate touch to preserve the springiness of the dough, otherwise they will come out of the oven like rocks and knives will not avail you.

Accordingly, turn the scone mixture onto a lightly floured surface and with your hands, form the dough into a mound and knead lightly.  Bring the dough together, flatten it down, turn it over - for no more than a minute perhaps, until the dough is springy and one defined mass.

Spread a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray.  Press dough gently until about an inch in thickness.  Starting at the edge, wasting none of the dough (the less re-kneading and reforming of scraps you do, the better!) cut small scones.  One by one, cut and lay on the tray.

Bake at 220C for 9-12 minutes, until they are risen and lightly golden on top, but not scorched.

See?  Perfect.

Remove tray from the oven and cool the scones until they're cool enough that they won't burn your mouth, then split them with a knife and spread with jam and cream, or jam and vanilla cream*, if you're feeling really decadent. Which I do.  Every time, if I can.

If the scones come out of the oven tough as boots, worry not - they're cheap in time and ingredients.  Try again and don't knead so hard, until you get 'em right.

*Vanilla cream
half a punnet of cream
3-4 tsp of sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir, taste, adjust till satisfied.

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