The ultimate scones
After making my buttermilk cake, I had 125ml of buttermilk left over and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I did a quick search and found this recipe on the BBC Good Food website, and I obviously had to try ‘the ultimate’ scones. They really are lovely and moist, and I shall probably adopt this as my new scone recipe. I added glacé cherries as an extra here and it worked really well. Needless to say, they didn’t last long!
225g self-raising flour
¼ tsp salt
50g slightly salted butter, chilled, cut in small pieces
25g golden caster sugar
100g glacé cherries, chopped (optional)
4 tbsp full-fat milk
a little extra flour for dusting
strawberry jam and clotted cream, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C and lightly butter a baking sheet (unless you’re using a non-stick sheet). Tip the flour into a mixing bowl with the salt. Add the butter, then rub together with your fingers to make a reasonably fine crumbed mixture, lifting to aerate the mixture as you go. Try not to overrub, as the mixture will be lighter if it’s a little bit flaky. Now stir in the sugar before adding the cherries. Mix well.
2. Measure the buttermilk, then mix in the milk to slacken it. Make a bit of a well in the middle of the flour mixture with a round-bladed knife, then pour in most of this buttermilk mixture, holding a little bit back in case it’s not needed. Using the knife, gently work the mixture together until it forms a soft, almost sticky, dough. Work in any loose dry bits of mixture with the rest of the buttermilk. Don’t overwork at this point or you will toughen the dough.
3. Lift the ball of soft dough out of the bowl and put it on to a very lightly floured surface. Knead the mixture just 3-4 times to get rid of the cracks.
4. Pat the dough gently with your hands to a thickness of no less than 2cm and no more than 2.5cm. Dip a 5.5cm round fluted cutter into a bowl of flour – this helps to stop the dough sticking to it, then cut out the scones by pushing down quickly and firmly on the cutter with the palm of your hand – don’t twist it.You will hear the dough give a big sigh as the cutter goes in. Gather the trimmings lightly then pat and cut out a couple more scones.
5. Place on the baking sheet and sift over a light dusting of flour or glaze if you wish. Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack, uncovered if you prefer crisp tops, or covered loosely with a cloth for soft ones.
6. Serve with jam and a generous mound of clotted cream (Cornish people put cream first, then jam, Devonians the other way round). Eat them as fresh as you can – or pop them in the freezer once cooled.
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