Yes, I finally got round to making scones! After all these years in the UK and so many cream teas around the country, I finally found a recipe that was so appealing that I had no excuse to ignore it.
Oddly enough it is from the UK version of Metro. And I mean oddly simply because I don't read this newspaper, but I found it on the sofa at my in-laws' the other week and flicked through it briefly and spotted a full page photo and the associated recipe.
I mean it has yoghurt, it has cherries and it has white chocolate in it - three of my favourites.
Thus yesterday I set to work. Rather late in the afternoon, after making bread and a chicken curry, but I hadn't cooked for a long time. Besides, Lundulph asked me to get some posh soups for the days when it's not salad days and the days when I'm not cooking. I felt ashamed, so took priority above the other things. However, neither the bread, nor the curry are anything to report on.
450 g self-raising flour
2 ml salt
4 level tsp baking powder
100 g chilled butter
50 g caster sugar
150 g dried cherries
80 g white chocolate
2 medium eggs
100 g natural yoghurt
100 ml full fat milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C and line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper.
- Mix or sift together flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and stir together to mix well.
- Dice the butter as finely as possible and add to the flour mixture.
- Using the tips of your fingers carefully rub together the butter and flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the caster sugar to the mixture. Cut the cherries in half and add to the mixture. Dice the chocolate into small chunks and add to the mixture. Then stir in to distribute them as evenly as possible.
- Break the two eggs into a jug, add the yoghurt and stir together, then top up with the milk until you get 300 ml of liquid.
- Save a table spoon of the liquid and pour the rest into the dry mixture and stir together to a fairly soft and sticky dough. Then take out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold together a few times to make it come together. Careful not to over-work.
- Flatten out or roll out to about 2 cm thickness. Then using a round cutter, cut out the scones and place onto the baking sheets. Make sure to cut by pushing the cutter straight down, do not twist because this will prevent the scones from rising properly during baking.
- Brush the scones lightly with the saved liquid and sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top, then bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Serve preferably on the same day or freeze.
Now I've written down the recipe above and with corrections, because the one in the newspaper was incorrect. It had too much liquid and I ended up adding quite a bit of flour to turn it into something remotely like a dough. It was so sticky, I didn't worry at all that I might over-work it.
I'd also bought full fat yoghurt, but mysteriously forgot about it and used low-fat instead, which was on the watery side too, so that probably didn't help either. As for the self-raising flour, I've always viewed it with deep mistrust. I've not seen it in Sweden and to be honest I don't see the point, it's not difficult at all to add baking powder or bicarbonate of soda or whatever else as needed to regular plain flour and most recipes I've seen that call for self-raising flour also invariably state that more baking powder needs to be added. But I thought I'd give it a go. Next time, I won't bother, according to Nigella's website, 2 tsp baking powder to 150 g plain flour is the corresponding to 150 g self-raising flour.
And the recommended flattening of the dough to 3 cm thickness seemed a bit extreme to me, I rolled out to 2 cm and of course I didn't have a 7 cm cutter, but 6.x something. This all meant that I ended up with 17 lovely scones and one dough ball the size of a walnut.
For once the baking time was correct - 15 minutes was just right and the beauties rose wonderfully and the sugar on top caramelised a little and Lundulph and I had some with clotted cream and cherry jam and it was heaven!
I froze most of the scones, but kept a few in a box for the following days - a whizz in the microwave for 30 seconds at full power makes two scones like freshly baked.
I'm very pleased and Lundulph is struggling to resist having a second one after the first.