How would you like your scones: Baked or Posh?

February 12th, 2011 | Posted by greg in Recipes

Simple ingredients, simple method, simple flavor and texture – everything about scone is simple!

So what makes them so posh? Is it that Roselle jam again?

I was puzzled to see how much is going on around the pronunciation of the word scone! And it’s not even a matter of British vs U.S. language as apparently within Britain alone, 2/3 of the population pronounces scone as in “gone” and the other third as in “bone”, the later being seen as a more posh variation to pronounce the word. Personally, I had no idea it was sooo important and never thought about it before… as a non-native English speaker, I just go with the flow and say scone with a French accent as in “Rhone” :) So I had to rely on our marvelous PR director, Claire, native from Hampshire (England) and she said scone as in “gone”!

The other laughable topic I have found on scone was whether you have to spread cream on jam or jam on cream! I mean, seriously… who gives a flying you-know-what about what goes first!… ok, maybe you do… Then I just think logic and practical with the harder texture first (the cream) and the gooey texture (the jam) on top, simple. I read an argument saying you have to put cream on top so you can have a huge mountain of it: Please allow me to doubt the gastronomic experience you’ll have with a piece of quick bread, a spoonful of jam and a massive amount of clotted cream! Beside, before people actually argue about that, they should rather look at having proper quality jam and cream! :)

Our scones are at the cross-line between the soft spongy type and the more biscuit type. Thereafter it’s a matter of personal taste… As long as they’re served freshly baked, slightly warm alongside quality jam and cream: no problem.

One of my all time favorite recipe for scones comes straight out one of London’s most famed place for Afternoon Tea, which I will keep confidential for my personal safety’s sake :) Scone recipes are like Foie Gras terrine recipes in France, everyone pretends having the most unique and spectacular recipe. My opinion? Scones are glorified quick breads that are great with jam and cream – thus making them immensely popular and an easy topic to get people buzzing around! I have to say that I enjoy having one, once in a while, generously spread with Devonshire clotted cream and our homemade berries jam along a nice cup of tea: quality time I’d say!

Ingredients

  • 500g       flour
  • 95g          sugar
  • 25g          baking powder
  • 125g        butter
  • 2               eggs
  • 100ml     milk (or cream if you dare!)
  • 60g           sultanas (optional)

Method

  • Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together with the butter until it resembles a crumble mixture
  • Add the eggs and milk (and the sultanas last if required and mix in quickly)
  • Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then roll out to about 15mm high
  • Cut into rounds and brush egg over the tops
  • Bake at 200°C for approximately 20 minutes, until nicely golden brown

Don’t serve them hot, but warm :)

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38 Responses

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  • Fina says:

    What kind of flour shall I use in this recipe? Bread or cake flour?

    • Anonymous says:

      I find a mix of both flours to be quite a good balance actually! But if one is to be chosen, then I guess cake flour will prevail. :-)

  • One of the best taste revelations I had while living in England was a warm scone with clotted cream and jam. When I became a British citizen I hosted a “British party” and I baked dozens of scones to serve to all my friends. They are the quintessential British item for me. Your look lovely!

  • gregoire says:

    @ Fina: Good question! You can use cake flour alone, but we’ve found better results when mixing 70% of cake flour and 30% of bread flour. Very interesting! :)

    @ Sarah: Very much agree with you – as a matter of fact there are very seldom afternoon tea menus without scones, clotted cream and jam! We’re doing bite size scones with jam and cream already spread on them for coffee breaks and they’re gone within minutes! :)

  • Tom says:

    Looks like a great recipe – the only problem is there is no where to buy clotted cream out here!!!

    Having no been to every baking shop (I think) in the city I am stuck for UHT rubbish.

    Looks like a great recipe. Will look forward to trying instead of my usual Nigella one.

    Tom

  • gregoire says:

    Tom… you’re right about clotted cream! I also never seen it in supermarket. I believe it’s because of HK’s law (ah… your field here…) about un-pasteurized dairy – companies need a special license or something like that…

    We’re lucky enough to fly it straight from Devonshire. We even had the luck to meet with the owner of the dairy company (…oh man he was proud the Queen visited his production facility once! I think he said it 12 times in half an hour!) and they’ve created bulk packaging especially for us because of large volume.

  • Natalie says:

    Hi

    Saw the clotted cream in Great Food Hall in Admarlity before, from UK in a little jar of about 180ml, as far as I remember it’s HK$60-70!

    Natalie

  • This is where I can tell how I can get any cream I like here including clotted from down South from Devon or even made from Jersey cows milk which is excellent!

    You obviously not spent time here in the UK if you think it’s not important to decide which should come first the jam or the cream! ;) And then the other important decision is pouring your tea, tea or milk first?

    The best scones I’ve had were at the Ritz, super light…and scones to be at their best should always be served warm.

    To answer the question of cream or jam…should be cream first, it’s acting as the butter, on the bottom and jam on top…it looks better plus it’s easier to spread the cream on a light crumbly surface than spreading jam.

    How you say “scones” here comes down to a South v North divide.

    There’s also arguments about the correct recipe for scone, whether it should have egg or not…hey culinary arguments are what keeps things alive you know ;)

  • gregoire says:

    @Natalie: You are right… I also recall seeing it at City Super in IFC a few years back, but wouldn’t know if they still have it… I think it’s almost a must in HK! :)

    @Azelias: Thanks for your insight on scones – very much appreciated to views of someone in the heart of the action! :) Reading your comments really emphasize how much is going on around these simple goodies! :)

  • Graz says:

    RE:Clotted Cream
    I saw it in MARKETPLACE@I-Square or K11
    But around $80!!! But Petite!!

  • gregoire says:

    Thanks Graz!
    I didn’t have the chance to visit Marketplace yet… I add it on my list of things to do before Christmas ;)

  • Graz says:

    Hehe, you are welcome. You may visit International as well ;)
    But I dun find any buttermilk in HK :O? Do you have any idea? It can be added in scone too instead of milk / cream :P
    And… For sour cream sub, I saw a simply way to make it, plain yogurt filter on cheese cloth for half hr, just wonder if yogurt can be heated / boiled?

    • gregoire says:

      @Graz: It’s actually not very hard to make your own buttermilk. I explain it in my latest book about cheese and dessert actually :)
      I saw some at City Super in IFC… not sure if they still have it!
      Yes, yogurt can be heated. Some Syrian cuisine dishes use yogurt as a base for a hot sauce – very very nice!! ;)

  • Sally says:

    Hi there
    I’ve been so inspired reading your article that I’m off to make scones for tea this afternoon.
    Note, it’s is most definitely scoooooone – as in cone with and s on. Simple. Sorry Claire, but you’re wrong! :-)
    Sally

  • gregoire says:

    @Sally: ahahah! I love your take on the word scone :) I couldn’t stop laughing when I read it! :-) BTW, if you want the scones to be tall like ours you will need to roll the dough a bit thicker. Happy baking and hope the scooooooone will make some people happy!

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  • Judy Louey says:

    Thanks for sharing your scone recipe.  I used to make mine with milk and double cream (but no eggs) I also add a generous dash of Bailey’s to my dough…  However,  I have not  seen double cream or clotted cream lately on the shelves at CitySuper or Taste.

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  • Scott Villacora says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this lovely scones recipe, i did made it myself .. excellent :-) well done and God bless always.

  • Sue says:

    Thanks chef Greg! I tried yesterday and they were great! But I’m a lazy person who want freshly baked scones everyday. Can I save half of the dough in fridge for the next day or two and bake whenever I want?

  • Kaman says:

    Thanks for sharing your Woonderful Scoone recipe!! Those big crispy crumbly outer with chewy tenderly soft and soggy inside are the best ever in Hk!!!!
    Perfectly right and serve in warm ! Clotted cream is fresh too.

    Lately , many supermarkets sells clotted cream, specially city super n market place.. Easily can be found thou quiet cosy, I wouldn’t complaint that’s the only best pick to go with scones.

    I would like to ask chef more on the mixing part for the texture of cumbles.. Regarding for how to mix it and time? Using hands or time such as not too much air in or ?? I think this parts plays important for the texture not being fluffy.

    • Thanks for your kind comments Kaman! :)
      I also found nice clotted cream in Discovery Bay markets. I was pleasantly surprised I have to say.
       
      When we mix the dough, we use just the time necessary to make the dough homogenous and yes, you are right, we don’t want to overwork the dough. We try not to have too much air in the dough so that the scones can remain straight and consistent. The resting time is also very important. So we give the dough time to rest sufficiently.

      Happy Baking! :)

  • Maxine says:

    How do you make sure when you roll out the scones a second or third time that the dough does not get over worked? I have this problem sometimes when making larger batches of buttermilk scones that the ones that have been re-rolled are a bit tough

    • Good point Maxine. As the dough is reworked, the gluten intensify and the dough becomes tougher, thus it won’t keep its shape and it will also ultimately affect the texture. We tend to use our dough only once and yes, we end up with a fair amount of dough scrap. We roll it again to make smaller scone that we will cut in half and serve with jam and cream, thus their look is not too important as we don’t see them as a whole piece. But so far, I haven’t broken the code of reworked scone dough! :)

  • Louisa says:

    I’ve just eaten 3 of these lovely scones, ‘not hot but warm’ from the oven. :) I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect scone (I try all sorts of versions of recipes until I find the right one). Well, your recipe is the one I’ll keep after trying about 6 other recipes! Not a hint of baking powder taste – they’re delicate, sophisticated little numbers. Thank you so much for a friendly site, too.

  • Andy Mack says:

    Tried this recipe after visiting the Ritz last week for afternoon tea. For me, this one gets the lovely lightness of the Ritz scones (which are heavenly) but adds a slight biscuit crunch, which personally, I love. I’m a very good amateur chef (better than that actually lol) and tried a lot, this one is going in my recipe folder. Next time I’m going to try it with vacuumed strawberries (Heston technique) as I did them plain today. Excellent work sir. Thank you for sharing. (I did add a little more butter for mine)

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