I’m a big fan of tea, and a bigger fan of scones. If you’ve been a reader of this site for any length of time, you’ve probably read one of my many scone posts. So it’s only natural that in honor of the big wedding of Prince William of Wales & Catherine Middleton that is taking place today, I whip up some scones & have some Twinings English Afternoon Tea and go to hell with myself! Admittedly, I’m an Angliophile (and a Francophile) and at times I’ve been known to bust out in quite an excellent (if I do say so myself) “cockney” accent. I also once spoke in a brogue the entire time I was having dinner with Jay a few years ago, cracking him up and in turn probably confusing everyone in the restaurant… “Why is he laughing at that Irish girl every time she speaks!?” But that’s another story for another day…
Maybe all this is because that the day I was born, and throughout her labor with me, my mother had been watching Princess Diana‘s marriage to Prince Charles. Maybe it’s my love of all things historical. Maybe it’s because I like to bake, and will use any excuse to do so. Who knows? At any rate, I decided to make scones.
The scone is a small British quick bread of Scottish origin. Scones are especially popular in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, but are also eaten in many other countries. They are usually made of wheat, barley or oatmeal, with baking powder as a leavening agent. The scone is a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea.
The original scone was round and flat, usually the size of a medium size plate. It was made with unleavened oats and baked on a griddle (or girdle, in Scots), then cut into triangle-like quadrants for serving. Today, many would call the large round cake a bannock, and call the quadrants scones. In Scotland, the words are often used interchangeably.
When baking powder became available to the masses, scones began to be the oven-baked, well-leavened items we know today. Modern scones are widely available in British bakeries, grocery stores, and supermarkets. A 2005 market report estimated the UK scone market to be worth £64m, showing a 9% increase over the previous five years. The increase is partly due to an increasing consumer preference for impulse and convenience foods.
Scones sold commercially are usually round in shape, although some brands are hexagonal as this shape may be tessellated for space-efficiency. When prepared at home, they take various shapes including triangles, rounds and squares. The baking of scones at home is often closely tied to heritage baking. They tend to be made from family recipes rather than recipe books, since it is often a family member who holds the “best” and most-treasured recipe.
So in addition to my many other scone recipes, both savory and sweet, here is one more. A recipe for simple scones by USA WEEKEND columnist Pam Anderson that can be altered to feature whatever you like; cranberries, raisins, currants, chocolate chips, white chocolate, etc. and by adding orange or lemon zest. You could probably even just have them plain, with a little clotted cream, if you’re into that kind of kinky stuff.
I used chocolate chunks as opposed to chips. Mmm.
SIMPLE SCONE RECIPE
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
- ½ cup raisins (or dried currants, cranberries, chocolate chips, etc)
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 large egg + 1 egg white
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in raisins.
- In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
- Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
- Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about ¾-inch thick. Brush the tops with the egg white and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
Notice all my books on the subject of royalty & kings? And that’s not even all of my collection. I’m a tad obsessed with historical fiction & historically accurate books. Just a tad.
These are some jolly good scones. The best I’ve made so far I think. And by the way, the Northern English way to say them is ‘skon’, the Southern English way is ‘skoan.’ So please don’t go around offending people & make sure you pronounce it the appropriate way. And on another note, perhaps one of the most interesting facts I recently discovered about William is that, according to Wikipedia;
Anyway, these are a delicious way to enjoy being up at 4 a.m.! Congrats to the soon-to-be newly married Prince William & Kate. And most of all- good luck.