Tuesday, August 3, 2010


An afternoon tea wouldn't be a proper tea without scones. There are cream scones made with heavy cream, which are very rich. I prefer a more American biscuit type of scone with the addition of dried fruit such as currants or raisins. In fact, if you research scones you will find dozens of different of kinds, with apples, buttermilk or a savory type with cheese, just to name a few.
Scones were first started in Scotland in the early 1500's as a quick bread made from oats and griddle baked. The Scottish quick bread took it's name from the 'Stone of Destiny or Skone, where Scottish kings were crowned.
Scones became popular and an essential part of the fashionable ritual of taking tea in England when Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), one late afternoon, ordered the servants to bring tea and some sweet breads, which included scones. She was so delighted by this, that she ordered it every afternoon and what now has become an English tradition is the "Afternoon Tea Time" (precisely at 4:00 p.m.). Scones are still served daily with the traditional clotted cream* topping in Britain. See below for a recipe for Devonshire Cream and Currant Scones.
Devonshire Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
Place heavy cream and confectioners sugar in chilled mixing bowl and beat on low speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in sour cream until well combined.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Keeps two days.
Currant Scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup raisins soaked for 30 minutes in brandy or orange juice to plump
3 eggs, divided
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk, divided
Preheat oven to 450 degrees, I prefer a convection oven preheated to 425 degrees*. Spray or grease a baking sheet. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until pieces are pea size. Drain raisins and pat dry, add to flour mixture. In a medium bowl beat eggs lightly with 1 cup milk. Add to flour mixture, stir just until mixed.**
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently. Pat or roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2" to 3" shapes, circles, triangles. hearts or shape of your choice. Grease and dip cutter into flour before cutting each scone. Place one inch apart on baking sheet.***
*If you use a convection oven, baking time may vary.
**The dough can be made in a food processor, either way, don't over process.
***One other method of baking is pat dough into 9"round cake pan, cut with knife into 8 wedges, the wedges will come apart after baked.
In a small bowl, combine 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk, brush onto scones. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm with strawberry jam*, butter and or clotted cream*.
*Strawberry jam is just one choice, lemon curd or other types of jam or apple butter are also good.