Friday, 15 May 2009

Cricket tea part 2 - perfect scones

So here, as promised, are the scones we brought to the cricket tea last weekend. Apologies for recycling the same photo. As I've whinged about excessively already, my camera is awol and I'm having to shamefully beg anyone with a photo-taking device to snap things for me :(

Scones were the first thing The Scientist put on the cricket tea wishlist, so I think perhaps they don't feature too frequently. I've made scones before - usually for The Scientist's parents until at last his mum gently let on that she doesn't like scones - but this time I wanted to find a definitive recipe. Something that would become 'my scone' recipe - the one that people make special requests for. This was all inspired by a beautifully fluffy and soft scone we shared in a tea room in Banbury about two years ago. I asked for the recipe but they said they were bought in, and we've never been back to Banbury since to pursue it. I looked at a lot of recipes and they were all broadly similar - some used milk, some buttermilk, some yogurt, but nothing that made me think that these would be The Ones. The most different recipe was Nigella's in How to be a Domestic Goddess, which used plain flour, and a LOT of cream of tartar. She said that this added soft fluffiness, and so in the end that was what swayed me.

Making the scones was completely uneventful (except that I forgot to add the sultanas The Scientist had requested), but the baked scones were absolutely as promised. Dreamily light and soft they delivered everything I had hoped for, and carried their jam topping beautifully. The cricket club captain's one year old daughter was quite a fan, and they got a lot of compliments from the players too (including The Scientist of course). Truly I will never use another scone recipe again. These are The Ones. I might even try them on The Scientist's mum :)

'Lily's scones' from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess
Makes 12 (I made one and a half quantities)

500g flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

4 ½ tsp cream of tartar

125g unsalted butter, diced

300ml milk

Preheat oven to 220°. Sift the dry ingredients together and rub in the butter thoroughly. Add the milk and stir very briefly. Knead lightly together on a floured surface. [It's important not to overwork scone dough] Roll out to approx 3cm thickness and then cut into 12 scones. [I used a cutter a bit smaller than the size Nigella gives - mine was about 5cm across compared to her 6 1/2 and got 18 out of the 1 and a half quantity dough] Bake for 10mins until wonderfully soft but slightly golden. I left ours to cool before cutting them and spreading with jam to transport to the cricket club. I imagine they would be wonderful warm (I have to admit that I tried a couple of tiny bits that 'fell off' while they were still warm so I don't know why I'm pretending I don't know)


Johanna said...

My jaw dropped at that scientist's mother not liking scones - I thought every one liked them (esp in UK) and my family all loves them - shows how narrow my scone experience is!

I have resisted any recipe with cream of tartar because I feel it is is another jar that will get neglected in the pantry - so am interested in Nigella's comment about it - I make scones without it and they are good - I would particularly recommend you try the lemonade/scone/flour scone recipe if you want to try other scone recipes - they are truly scrumptious

Squishy said...

I used your recipe for my first ever attempt at scones and they turned out really well except they were a tiny bit salty as I used a salted soy butter substitute. They certainly were light and fluffy. Thanks for another fabulous recipe.

tytty said...

Hi, planning to make this tomorrow for someone's birthday. I bookmarked your website, then discovered that on another 2 websites, the amount of butter+shortening is only 75 grams