We had the opportunity to travel on a family vacation to France back in 2009.…
To many folks, scones are those rock hard “pastries” you find at certain coffee shops. If you’ve ever had a chance to taste a “real” English scone, you know that they are nothing like these hockey pucks. In fact, in Britain, these baked goods are actually known as Rock Cakes (pretty appropriate!)
The scone is the standard tea cake of Britain. They should be fluffy and delicate and more closely resemble a southern biscuit. Below is a good basic scone recipe. The cream scone is much like a blank canvass and can be dressed in many, many ways. In England, clotted cream or a great jam would be served with the scones. I am including a lemon glaze if you want something to top these with.
This recipe is made in a food processor and can be put together very quickly. Measure out the ingredients before you start. Cut the butter into small chunks, about ½ inch.
Put the dry ingredients into the food processor and run it to mix the ingredients.
Next, sprinkle the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse about 5 times to “cut” the butter into the dry ingredients. You want to still see “pea sized” pieces of butter.
Next, add the whipping cream and pulse about 10 times until the dough comes together. You may need to scrape down the sides and bottoms of the bowl to combine all of the ingredients.
Once the dough is made, turn it out onto a lightly floured cutting board. In the pictures, I was making smaller scones for an event, so I split the dough into two halves and formed them into disks. For standard scones, you would pat it into a circle about 7 inches in diameter.
I prefer to bush on the egg wash and sprinkle the sugar on top before I cut the scones.
Using a sharp knife, cut the scones by pressing straight down. You do NOT want to “saw” back and forth to cut the dough. There are layers in the dough and if you cut back and forth, you will crush those layers and they won’t rise as much.
Move the scones to a prepared baking sheet. To maximize the rise, you can refrigerate or freeze the dough for 10 to 15 minutes before baking. It is important that the oven be at full temperature when the scones go in to bake. The high heat and steam created from the wet dough is what makes the scones rise and makes them light and fluffy.
Bake the scones until they are “golden brown and delicious.” If you make smaller scones, start checking several minutes early. Allow to cool on the pan for about 10 minutes then move to a cooling rack. Serve with jam or try some clotted cream (can be found in specialty section of some grocery stores). I’ve also included a lemon glaze recipe if you want to try that.
Recipe: Cream Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
1 each egg, beaten
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut butter into small pieces – about ½ inch and keep cold
- Combine the dry ingredients – flour, salt, sugar and baking powder – in the bowl of a food processor. Run for about 10 seconds to blend well. Add butter pieces to the food processor and pulse for one second about five times until butter is cut into the flour in pieces. Add the whipping cream and pulse for one second about 10 times. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure the ingredients are well combined. Pulse about 10 more times until the dough begins to gather.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board. Press the dough together until it forms a ball or disk. Using just your hands, pat and press the dough into a circle about 7 inches in diameter.
- Using a knife, cut dough into wedges – generally 8, but if you want smaller scones, cut into 10 or 12. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the scones (you won’t use the whole egg). Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the scones. (I prefer to do the egg wash and sugar before moving the scones to the baking sheet.
- Move the scones to the baking sheet placing them about 2 inches apart. You can refrigerate at this point to firm the butter. Bake 14 to 17 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. If you cut them into smaller scones, you may need to check a minute or two early.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Move to a rack to cool or go ahead and serve. (Serve with jam or glaze with lemon glaze below).
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1 each lemon, zest only
1 ½ teaspoons butter
Combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in a heatproof bowl on top of a double boiler. Over simmering water, stir the glaze until the powdered sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter and whisk until the glaze is smooth. Remove from the heat. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones and allow to cool and set before serving.