As an English girl born in Devon, it was impossible to escape the West Country’s favourite pastime: cream tea. To those of you unfamiliar with the term, this consists of scones with jam and clotted cream accompanied by a pot of tea, much like you would get as part of an afternoon tea set at one of Hong Kong’s swanky hotels.
Growing up, when my grandma and I had exhausted all the Disney videotapes and were stuck for entertainment, she would stand me on a stool in the kitchen and help as I got my hands messy making scones – a foolproof recipe that’s hard to get wrong, according to her. In my grandma’a opinion, she was never a great cook, but she knows how to make it look like she is. Who needs to be awesome at cooking when it looks like you are?
These light and crumbly scones are a heart-warming vessel on which to pile big globs of clotted cream and strawberry jam. Wash it down with a cuppa and you have the ultimate English West Country experience right in your own home.
Related: Top Afternoon Teas in Hong Kong
Recipe: Classic British Scones
Prep time: 40 min (30 min for chilling)
Cooking time: 20 min
- 500g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 150g unsalted butter at fridge temperature, cubed (plus a little extra, melted, for brushing)
- 150ml milk (enough to bind dough)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 egg, beaten separately
For spiced scones, add:
- ⅔ cup raisins, currants and citrus peel soaked in orange juice for 30 min
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the sugar, baking powder and salt (spiced option: add all the spices too). Combine with the butter cubes.
Pinch and roll the butter with the flour mix using your fingertips until it’s all roughly combined. You should have a crumbly mixture rather than a dough at this point.
Add the milk and two beaten eggs to the mixture and combine with your hands until it all comes together – be careful not to overwork it or your scones will be dense rather than crumbly and soft! You should have a soft, dry dough.
If you find that your dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour until it’s no longer sticky (spiced option: this is when you would add your currants and peel, combining with your hands until they’re distributed roughly throughout the dough).
Cover and let your dough rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Remove from the fridge and, on a flour-dusted surface, roll out with a large rolling pin until the dough is level at about 2–3cm thick. Cut your scones with fluted cookie cutters – the deeper these are, the easier it will be to cut out nice, clean shapes.
Lay your scones on a lined baking tray and brush the tops with one beaten egg – this will give them a glorious brown and shine!
Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
Enjoy with some clotted cream, strawberry jam and, of course, a cup of tea!
Watch our how-to video here:
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