I was lucky enough to spend a good portion of my last summer in Cambridgeshire and London, England. While there I must have had a gazillion cups of tea. Not really so different from my consumption rate at home, except in England, tea wasn't just a hot drink in a mug, it was a lovely afternoon affair. So with my many English Breakfasts and Earl Greys, I also enjoyed quite a few scones, sandwiches, and slices of cake. Then this morning I woke up yearning for scones. And not the normal triangular ones, but the crumbly British pastries loaded with cream and jam.
And bam! They were super easy to make!
But I have to say once and for all; they're biscuits. They just are. The recipes for each are almost identical, except that the scones get raisins, pretty plates, and a pinch more sugar. The recipe I used was from Jamie Oliver, who weighed and measured in the metric system, but I thought that I would switch to the imperial (but remind me to talk about weighing ingredients one of these days).
The key to scones is to be dainty, to not handle the dough too much, and to give it time to rest and breathe before baking. Now all I need to some clotted cream...
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup orange juice, optional
6 ounces cold, unsalted butter, diced
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
pinch of sea salt
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons milk, plus extra
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. (Optional: soak the raisins in orange juice for a few minutes, drain before adding.)
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt together. Then cut the cold butter into the mixture until it has pea-sized clumps or smaller. For this, you can use your fingers or a pastry cutter, or if you want to pull out all the stops, you can pulse the mixture in a food processor for a few seconds.
3. Make a well in the center, then pour in the milk and eggs, and mix until just combined. Add a little extra milk if the dough is having trouble coming together.
4. Stir the raisins into the dough, then cover, set aside, and let rest for about 10 minutes.
5. Roll the dough onto a floured surface, to about a 1/2 inch thick. Use a 3-inch, round cookie or biscuit cutter to pop out the scones. Fold up and reroll the left over dough, and cut again.
6. Place each on a baking sheet and brush with milk or butter (optional), and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove when scones are golden brown.
Stuff with butter and jam and enjoy!