English scones and I have been in a serious relationship for a long time now. I used to dream about them while reading about the English afternoon tea in Rebecca byDaphné du Maurier and it was love at first bite when I finally tasted them. I was in boarding school in England for a few months and I was serving pastries during the school fair. As a reward, I got one scone that I had kept hidden in a handkerchief under my bed, only eating small bites everyday to make it last.
Ever since then, I have been in a quest to find the perfect recipe that would provide the unique scone flavour and the texture that crumbles in you mouth that I love so much. I tried out many English recipe and Trish Deseine’s is clearly the best. It also happens to be super easy, you can wrap up beautiful scones in no time using your hands. Now that I live in London, I send my husband fresh scones on Sunday mornings but I still enjoy making a batch from time to time, just for the pleasure of seeing them swell and get all golden in the oven. I already posted this recipe here but it’s in French, so now you can enjoy in English with some additional tips to make perfect English scones (and in video, if you happen to want to learn French). Now you just have to take out your jam and clotted cream and you’ll be ready for the greatest afternoon tea.
Prep time : 10mn
Cook time: 20mn
Makes about 10 scones
- 500g all-purpose flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 125g cold salted butter
- 30cl semi-skimmed milk
- 2 heaped tablespoons of baking powder
- Egg brush: 1 beaten egg + 1 tablespoon of water + 1 pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 200°C.
- In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and mix in the sugar. Add the butter cut into small pieces and rub the mixture between your fingers until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Pour the milk and stir with a fork to form a soft dough that isn't too sticky nor too dry (if necessary add a little flour or milk to get the good texture).
- Place the dough on a floured board and roll it out to 3 cm thick. Cut the scones with a 5to 7cm cookie cutter (ideally fluted). Arrange them on a sheet of baking paper on a baking sheet and brush the top of the scones with the prepared egg brush.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 200°C (static heat) until the scones are tall and golden brown. Enjoy them hot, warm or cold with the traditional clotted cream (or heavy cream) and strawberry jam.
The secret tips for perfect English scones:
– To obtain the beautiful and characteristic crack in the middle of your scones so that can open them in two without a knife, you must knead the dough only a little. Just enough to activate the yeast but not too much, otherwise your scones will be all crooked. On the video, we had to film the scene many times so my dough was way too kneaded so the final scones didn’t dwell up like they should have. The best way to get it right is to knead the dough between your hands until smooth on the milk is incorporated and then spread out the dough almost immediately to cut your scones. And for the oven, go for static heat rather then the fan mode.
– These English scones are delicious plain but you can customise them to your taste by adding to the dough dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dried apricots into small pieces …), fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries …) or chocolate chunk. Knead a few seconds to fully incorporate into the dough before rolling it out. For a savoury version, try my cheddar and pumpkin seeds savoury scones, they are delicious.
– The scones are always eaten with cream. For purists, the one and only is the clotted cream called so because of the small crust on top that is removed before serving. But they are also extremely delicious with a good and tick double or sour cream (like the Isigny cream for example).