We used to have this Sunday routine. When my wife and I lived in our old city and closer to my mom, she would drop by on a Sunday, late morning, and we'd sit and enjoy coffee and tea and something to nosh on. I'd almost always choose scones, if I had an option. Store-bought or homemade, it didn't matter. As long as they were buttery and soft and delicious.
Scones are more of a U.K. thing and something eaten often with afternoon tea. Luckily for me they are also quite popular here in Canada. I say luckily, because I have this fascination with them. It doesn't matter if it's with morning tea or an afternoon break or plain or one of the many other variations that exist. Although I love a seasonal variation like pumpkin or a decadent white chocolate raspberry or another, I prefer old-fashioned plain scones. Simple yet delicious.
A really well-made scone is buttery and soft and light, yet firm enough to maintain it's texture and shape. It's also something wonderful and decadent and savoury. They are sweet or savoury and flaky. Now I prefer plain scones because I enjoy them with fresh whipped cream and homemade jam, or the best variety I can buy at a store. (The key to the whipped cream is not to over whip. It should be soft and wet, not entirely firm and dry.) When these flavours are combined I'm left without words and I lose myself in the moment. I'm taken away to a different place, a different time. Maybe a simpler time.
The best recipe I've come across to date is the formidable Australian chef Bill Granger, famous in Australia for his breakfasts, but not to forget his restaurants and cookbooks. The best thing about these scones is I can indulge whenever I wish and it takes but a few minutes to prep and bake. Brilliant!
|Plain butter scones with Jam and Cream|
Adapted from Bill Granger's book: Bills Food
Yields: 8 scones
1 tbsp. icing sugar
2 1/2 cups plain all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 cup of milk
1 oz. butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Sift the icing sugar, flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the milk and butter and stir to combine with a knife. Knead quickly and lightly until smooth and then press out onto a floured surface.
Use a glass to cut out rounds roughly 2 inches in diameter and 1 1/4 inches deep and place them close together on a greased baking sheet. Gather the scraps together, lightly knead again, then cut out out more rounds.
Cook for 8-10 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve plain or with jam and lightly whipped cream.