The first time I ate “real” British scones, I admit I was quite surprised, as they differ from American scones on many levels.
Generally, British scones are –
- Either plain or have dried fruit in them, and serve as an excuse for jam and clotted cream (like a whipped butter) to eat with a cup of tea.
- Round, not triangular! (We’ll get to why that is later!)
- Not glazed with sugar like American ones
- Fluffy and moist, not dry like Americans so often think of them as being
Figuring out why American scones are triangular and British scones are round took some digging to find the answer. It turns out both ways are technically correct! Back in the days before modern ovens and baking pans, scones used to be baked as one large round loaf, and then sections were dished out like pieces of a pie. With the advent of modern ovens, Americans decided to cut them like pieces of a pie before they were baked, and the British decided to keep the round shape and cut them like biscuits.
So which way is better? It’s hard to say. However, one thing is for sure. In order to get fluffy scones, you don’t want to over-work the dough. Therefore I go with the triangular method because you can just gently form the dough into a circular disk once and then slice it up. If you make them round and cut them, you usually have to roll out the dough two or three times, which makes them less fluffy. The best scones I had in England were round, but they looked like they were formed into a round shape vs. being cut, which would allow the baker to avoid rolling out the dough.
Before you start to make the scones, I highly recommend making some spreadable fruit, a refined-sugar-free jam. Also set out some butter to let it get to room temperature so that you can make some whipped butter. These scones would be the perfect thing to make for a Valentine’s brunch, ladies tea or just for any cold winter day when all you want to do is stay in the warmth and drink some tea!
In this recipe, you are basically making self-rising flour with the large amount of baking powder it calls for. However just be sure to use baking POWDER. I once accidentally used baking soda instead and the result was quite disappointing!
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. salt
- ⅓ cup cold butter, diced
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup yogurt
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- For egg wash -
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- Plus extra flour for dusting surface
- *Optional - dried fruit, orange zest, vanilla bean powder, etc. for extra flavor
- Pre-heat oven to 400 and place your baking sheets in the oven to pre-heat as well.
- Mix together the dry ingredients in a food processor for a few seconds. Add the butter and mix about 30 seconds until the butter is evenly spread out throughout the flour mixture.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the yogurt, milk and vanilla. Microwave 1 minute. It might look a little bit lumpy or curdled, but that's ok!
- Add to flour mixture in the food processor. Mix JUST until combined.
- Turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Form into a ball and then press out into a disk about 1½ - 2 in thick. Cut into 8 equal parts.
- Lightly dust each slice with flour and transfer to the pre-heated baking sheet. Brush with egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 tbsp milk). Bake 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Serve with spreadable fruit and whipped butter.
- If you have any leftovers, be sure to store them in an air-tight container and serve them toasted.
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- 2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup red raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- 3 tsp. corn starch (or fruit pectin) - more as needed
- If using frozen fruit, allow to thaw and drain off and reserve the liquid. Blend the fruit using a food processor or blender.
- Add fruit and maple syrup to a non-stick saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Add the cornstarch to the reserved fruit liquid if available and whisk together into a slurry until well-combined. Add the slurry to the fruit mixture.
- Allow the fruit mixture to simmer on medium low for 10-25 minutes. It will be done when it gets thick and syrupy and begins to stick to the sides of the saucepan. Usually at this point it has reduced down by about half or more (1 cup to 1½ cups).
- Transfer to a jar and allow to cool.
- Refrigerate and use within 1 week.
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup cream
- Blend butter and cream together until combined.
- Serve at room temperature on scones.
- Return any leftovers to the refrigerator promptly and use within 2 days.