By Mary Mahabir, White Swan Tea Room, 01600 719782
The tea room gets busy at this time of year with cream teas. We serve our freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream but there are so many flavour combinations to try.
Our favourite scone recipe is a flexible one. Flavours and textures can be added and there’s no rule that says you must have jam and cream. Why not try salted caramel instead of jam and compliment the sweetness of the caramel with crème fraiche or a low-fat cream cheese. We love lavender scones too so adding a tea spoon of culinary lavender to the scone mix before you add the liquid will give you a lovely floral flavour. I love lavender scones but I’ve yet to find the perfect jam to partner them with. Plain scones are delicious with a range of jams and preserves, and clotted cream can be substituted with thick creamy yoghurt or cream cheese,
Gin is a great flavour to add to scones. Add a large tot of gin as part of your 250ml of milk and grate a teaspoon of lemon zest into the dry mix before adding the liquid. Just before popping the scones in the oven brush more gin on top of them instead of egg and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar. Gin scones are delicious served with lemon curd or rhubarb jam.
If we add dried fruits, usually sultanas, we soak them first in hot tea (no milk) just to ensure they stay plump and soft when baked. Adding fresh fruit to scones also works well – Blueberries look amazing in scones, adding both flavour and colour as they bake. Dust with icing sugar for best effect when you serve them. Chocolate polka dots can be added to the basic dry mix or, make up the scone mix and roll out, layering the mix with Nutella spread.
Here’s our basic scone recipe – give it a try but don’t be afraid to experiment with flavours
250g plain flour
250g self raising flour
Level teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
110g caster sugar plus 2 extra teaspoons of sugar
100g of butter OR clotted cream
Egg yolk to brush the top of the scones
Mix the flour, salt, sugar and butter/cream in a large bowl. This can be done with a fork until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs or with an electric mixer. Add the milk/liquid in one go and stir into the mixture until it forms a ball of dough. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is approximately 3cm thick. Using a 7cm pastry cutter, cut scones out of the dough and place on a greased baking tray. Brush the scones with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in a hot oven 180C for 15 minutes or until the scones are golden brown on the top. Leave to cool but they are good eat when slightly warm.