300g SR white flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder (optional)
80g dried fruit (sultanas, raisins or currants)
Prep to Cook: Mixing bowl, jug, fork, flour shaker, cutter ( optional), baking tray with non-stick paper to save washingup, cooling rack Oven on 200C, Gas Mark 6 - 7
Prep the dough:
Sieve the flour ( I think it is worth it for good scones) and the baking powder into the mixing bowl. Add the margarine ( or butter ) and rub the fat into the flour using your finger tips. This should not take very long and the margarine all but disappears.
Add the dried fruits, checking that they do not clump together. Stir them in with the fork.
Now in a measuring jug put the egg and milk together and whisk them up using the fork.
Pour most but NOT all of the liquid into the dough and stir with the fork.
The dough should form and it should be soft and not sticky. If it is sticky sieve a little more flour over the dough. Also sieve some flour onto the work surface.
Prep the scones:
Tip the dough onto the work surface and shape the dough using your hand to form a ball of dough. Push back any dried fruits that pop out of the mixture.
Pat the surface of the dough until the mixture is flattened but ‘really thick.’ This is the sole secret of making good scones – throw out your rolling pin do not use it!
Using a cutter, press out the circular shapes and place the scones on a flat baking tray.
Using a pastry brush and the remaining egg and milk mixture brush the tops of the scones (not the sides as this will prevent the scones from rising)
Spread out the scones evenly over the baking tray and put into a hot oven.
Cook them for 12 – 15 minutes.
Are they cooked?
Scones should rise up to almost double their initial size. They should have a golden tops and white sides that have a split. One good scone becomes two servings! That is the reason you need them nice and thick before you cut them out.
Everyday scones are magic. You are likely to have the ingredients in stock and when someone turns up you can just wizz up a batch and sit and eat them within half an hour fresh from the oven. What could be nicer – friends will call again and again.
You can manage without a cutter – after you have pressed out the dough just use a sharp knife and cut the dough into 8 scone squares. This is easy and the results are just as good.
Cooks Know How: You will be really chuffed when you get well risen and golden topped scones. Well done to you. You will understand that as you have only used a little fat in the recipe you can serve them with butter. The mixture you used is wonderful when it is freshly cooked but again, due to the small amount of fat in the recipe, scones go stale quickly. Freshen up scones if you need to by popping them into a hot oven to refresh them. You know the rubbing-in method is the way you make them and the self-raising flour makes them rise. If you did sieve a little extra raising agent in (the baking powder) then you are just ensuring that the dough doubles in height and the scones rise. You may notice you have not added any sugar and so the sweetness comes solely from the dried fruit. Scones are easy when you know what you should be aiming for but many people make a sort of hard biscuit. Cool your scones on a cooling rack to let the steam escape from them and eat them on the day you make them – need I say that!
Try using different dried fruit such as dried cranberries or diced up dried apricots. Have a go at Aunty Heather’s Cherry scones a richer recipe with chunks of glace cherries.