scones.JPGWhen it comes to afternoon tea, every so often just a good old fashioned scone will do. My Mother is with me on holiday and I’ve turned her into a taste tester for cakes and pastries before she leaves to go back to South Africa. Every day there is something sweet on the table, but I know there are days when she will be more than content with the customary scone.

Scones are super because they’re so versatile. Once you’ve learned and perfected a proper recipe, the sky is the limit. So if you thought that scones are not fashionable anymore, they most certainly are and have come back in style – it’s just that people like my Mother may not be able to recognise them much. The shapes have changed, the flavours are fresh and vibrant, berry scones are now in the lead leaving old faithful raisin scones behind. But the one thing I noticed that hasn’t changed much in this era of food fashion, is that scones are still very much appreciated with its two assistants – cream and jam. Isn’t that just wonderful! Some things never change and I don’t think they’re meant to. But don’t get me wrong where traditions are concerned, I too want to jump on the scone-fashion-wagon and experiment with all these fabulous flavours, but just not today. Today is kind of like Mothers Day without the shopping, the gift-wrapping, the long queues, the drying flowers, the melting chocolates and all the other fanatical must-do’s for that one special day when we’re dying to show our Mothers how much we love them but the hype around it is hindering our most worthy efforts. So no, today is Mothers Day only for us, in the calm and quiet, the kettle boiling, the cream and jam waiting and the familiar smell of her old favourite classic scones wafting through the kitchen. And just as she breaks one open with a smile, merriment abounds.

Ingredients (Makes 6)
  • 250g of flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 75g cold butter cubed
  • 2 tbs of granulated sugar
  • 80 mls milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • egg wash to glaze
  1. In a mixing bowl add sifted flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together before adding the cold butter.
  3. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour to mimic breadcrumbs.
  4. Add sugar and mix.
  5. In a serparate bowl whisk egg, vanilla, lemon juice and milk.
  6. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients.
  7. Mix all the ingredients together using a spatula to form a dough without overworking the dough.
  8. Cover the dough with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool the butter.
  9. Preheat oven to 200°C convectional gas/220°C convectional electric/240°C conventional.
  10. Tip the dough out on a lightly floured board after resting time.
  11. Pat the dough and fold it over before rolling it out 2 to 3cm thick.
  12. Using a 5cm cutter dipped in flour to cut out the dough into scones and place on a lightly floured baking sheet.
  13. Roll the offcuts into the same thickness and cut out more scones.
  14. Glaze scones with egg wash by brushing them gently.
  15. Place scones into the oven for 12 mins until golden brown.
  16. Serve with whipped cream and jam of your choosing.
Maestros Need To Know
 *When mixing wet ingredients into dry ingredients for scones, work quickly
 ensuring that you do not overwork the dough. Overworking dough will result in
 limp scones without crumbliness.
 *When adding the butter make sure that it is cold. Cold butter yields a crumbly scone.
 * When rolling out the dough make sure that the surface is floured only lightly,
 This is to ensure that the added flour will not intefere with the dough mixture.
 Only if the mixture is too sticky to roll out, should you add more flour a little at a time.
 * If using a conventional oven always preheat and bake at 20 degrees more than a convectional electric.
 *When whipping cream always ensure that the cream is thoroughly cold. To
 help this process along you may place your bowl into the fridge to cool before whipping.
 By cooling the bowl you are ensuring that the fats are cold enough to form a matrix and hold air which yields a fluffy cream. If the cream gets too warm from working it, you will not be able to attain the desired result and the cream will remain liquid.
 That being said, also watch carefully as you whip cream. Whipping cream goes through many stages, just like a meringue mixture from soft peak stage to stiff peak stage. Soft peak stage is reached when you whip and remove the beater to find that a peak has formed and then drops back into the bowl. Stiff peak stage is determined when you remove the beater and the peak remains upright. At this point if you go any further and continue beating your end result will change from cream to butter. You will notice that the fats have seperated from the liquid. 
 * Adding a bit of lemon juice to the scone mixture helps with the rise of the scone as it reacts postively to the baking powder. This ensures a quick rise for a short bake.