Oy but it's hot here. I realise that it's not hot in the wider scheme of things, but as is well known, Brits are not very good at being hot or dealing with being hot. We have our beloved friend the Norse God staying with us at the moment, and his beloved consort, the Norse Goddess (now also beloved by us), but it's been too hot to do much with them. Luckily we all like flumping with books, games and good cheer (and/or good cheese, depending on our various preferences). We are about to brave the heat to show them Oxford, but while everyone else is finishing getting ready I'm going to post another scone recipe.
I said a few weeks ago that I was never going to make another scone - I had found scone perfection in Nigella's recipe, and that that was it forever. But I wanted to test it alongside a recipe by Nigel Slater, who is another food writer I like very much. I had cut out a recipe from Sainsbury's Magazine last year, and with a willing band of tasters presenting themselves I made a quick batch for The Scientist's latest gaming trip. I didn't have any eggs so I subbed 1 Tbsp plain yogurt. And I also added dried fruit which Nigel doesn't. The scones were perfectly lovely, and even caused The Scientist's gaming friends to run out for jam and cream. Nigella they were not, however. I am told that they lacked the same light fluffiness - though without the comparison they would have done very well. I hate to make it sound as though I am being critical of one of Nigel's recipes, after all.
So, do make these. They are very nice scones. However, if you want to wow your friends, relatives and partner's cricket team, make these.
Nigel Slater's scones (Sainsbury's magazine, October 2008)
Nigel says that these are the first scones he'd made without plain flour and baking powder - they use self raising flour instead.
Makes 6 or 7 small scones
250g self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
40g cold unsalted butter
25g golden unrefined caster sugar
1 large egg (or 1 Tbsp plain yogurt)
about 150ml buttermilk, or 120ml normal milk with 2 Tbsp natural yogurt
handful of dried fruit (optional and not part of Nigel's original!)
a little egg and milk for glaze (optional)
Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C, Gas 7.
Sift the flour into the bowl of a food processor with a pinch of salt [he 'genuinely recommends' sieving the flour here]. Add the butter, cut into small pieces, and then the sugar. Blitz for a few seconds, until you have what looks like breadcrumbs. Break the egg into a mixing jug, whisk lightly, then pour in enough buttermilk to make the quantity up to 150ml. Pour the liquid into the food processor bowl and blitz very briefly. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and knead gently for a few seconds, just until you can pull the mixture together into a ball.
Pat the dough into a large round, about 2.5 cm thick. Cut out as many scones as you can using a 5-6cm cookie cutter or upturned glass. Bring the trimmings together and press gently back into shape, then cut out a couple more until you have used up all the mixture.
Place on a baking sheet, brush with the beaten egg and milk to glaze, if using. Bake for 12-15 minutes till pale and risen. Serve slightly warm with clotted cream and jam.