Nigella Lawson’s Scones
There is nothing more comforting with a cup of tea than a scone, with or without jam. Scones are so quintessentially British and always bring to mind the echoing gulder of “Tralllllleeeee!” at 10am every weekday morning when I first started work, as the tea trolley was pushed around the building selling tea, coffee and scones. Scones were also one of the first things we were taught to bake in school, along with The Queen of Puddings and a Victoria Sponge.
In North America it seems that scones are formed into a large circle and cut into wedges before baking, but in the UK, they are cut into circles, and if you are posh, you use a fluted cutter. Here, I didn’t have one, but a glass works just fine.
There is the whole North/South issue about how to pronounce “scone”, where I come from it is “sk-on”, in the South of England it is “sk-own”. Either way, they are great.
This is Nigella Lawson’s recipe and as she is quintessentially British,too, what finer recipe to use?
Nigella Lawson’s Scones
• 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
• 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
• 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons soft vegetable shortening
• 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
• 1 egg, beaten, for an egg wash (optional)
• 1 large lipped baking sheet or half sheet pan
• 1 (2-inch) biscuit cutter, preferably fluted
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees C/425 degrees F and line a large lipped baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the flour into a bowl with the baking soda, cream of tartar, and sugar. Chop the butter and the vegetable shortening into pieces and drop them into the flour. Rub the fats into the flour – or just mix any old how – and then pour in the buttermilk, working everything together to form a dough.
Lightly flour your work surface. Pat the dough into a round-edged oblong about 1 3/4 inches thick and cut out 2-inch scones with a biscuit cutter. (Mine are never a uniform height, as I only pat the dough into its shape without worrying whether it’s irregular or not.)
Arrange the scones fairly close together on your lined baking sheet, and brush with beaten egg (to give golden tops) or not as you wish.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, by which time the scones will be dry on the bottom and have a relatively light feel. Remove them to a wire rack to cool, and serve with clotted cream and your favourite jam.
Make Ahead Note: Scones are best on the day they are made but day-old scones can be revived by warming in oven preheated to 300 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes.
Freeze Note: Baked scones can be frozen in airtight containers or resealable bags for up to one month. Thaw for 1 hour at room temperature and warm as above. Unbaked scones can be put on parchment-lined trays and frozen until solid. Transfer to resealable bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake direct from frozen, as directed in recipe, but allowing extra 2 to 3 minutes baking time.