I’m still baking the basics and, this week, I decided to try to make some scones. I say try, because I have attempted them before and ended up with biscuit-type things that tasted a slightly sconey at most. Everyone (except my husband, who always tells it like it is when it comes to cake) was very polite about them, but when nobody could cut them in half to pile on the jam and cream that is the very essence of a scone, I knew I’d failed.
As usual, when I try to make something I’ve failed at before, I turned to Delia Smith. I used the recipe for Rich Fruit Scones from Delia’s Cakes which is also available from the Deliaonline website. I also had help this week from my little girl. She’s three and was in charge of eggs…
I sifted self-raising flour into a bowl, added caster sugar (the recipe uses golden caster sugar, but I didn’t have any) and, together with N, used my brilliant pastry blender to mix in softened butter until the mixture looked crumbly. We did a pretty good job.
“We did it together like best friends didn’t we mummy?” My heart melted.
I fished out a little bit of shell from a very well beaten egg and added it to the mixture along with some milk. I wasn’t sure whether to add the whole recipe amount of 3 tablespoons at one go because, although I know that scone dough has to be quite soft, I didn’t want to have to work with something really wet. My mom says that the best scones she ever made were from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. She was making half of the recipe, forgot, put the whole amount of liquid in and ended up with a dough that she could hardly work with. She couldn’t quite believe it when what came out of the oven was the perfect scone. I might end up with really good scones, but I think I’d rather put up with something less-than-perfect than a pile of slop. Especially with a three-year old on the loose in the kitchen.
I was putting my trust on Delia though, and the recipe didn’t say anything about adding the milk in stages. I decided to add it slowly. This way, I could stop if the mixture started to look more milky than doughy. In the end, I added a couple more tablespoons than the recipe amount – I think my egg may have been a bit on the small side – and brought the mixture together into a soft, but not sticky, dough as instructed.
I put some flour onto a board and turned it out. I flattened, rather than rolled, the dough to a thickness of 3cm and cut out 5cm rounds. I had nine scones. I gave N the off-cuts and she made two rabbits. We sprinkled flour over the top of them and baked them on lined baking sheets at 200ºC fan for 15 minutes. I checked them by tapping the bottom. You get a hollow sound once they’re cooked.
They came out looking like this.
I was pleased. At least this time they looked like scones. My mom said that there were really light and, although I put so much jam on mine, the scone taste was somewhat overwhelmed, it was still there. I’ll definitely make them again for a treat on a rainy afternoon. Oh, and N really enjoyed the whole baking and eating thing. Something to try again. Strictly on bath days only though I think.