The thing that most people think of when they think of Devon is cream tea. A Devonian cream tea is a delicious feast of light, crumbly scones, an enormous dollop of Devonshire clotted cream, and half a pot of jam smeared on top. A proper scone really is something magnificent and armed with this recipe, you can astound everyone you cook them for.
Name: Sam Fletcher
University: Trinity College, Oxford
Location/Country: Widworthy, UK
One of the things to remember when making scones is not to overwork the mix, so right from the start, we should warn against using an electric whisk, mixer, rolling pin or even spoon. That’s right, put everything away (except a bowl), roll up those sleeves and get ready to stick your hands in it!
This is an adapted recipe that’s been passed around the village, and I’ll happily swear by it making the PERFECT scones, scones as they should be. The trick in this recipe is to mix the raising agent yourself, rather than relying on the pre-mixed agent in self-raising flour. You will need:
-500g plain flour
-50g caster sugar (and a little bit to sprinkle over after)
-180ml milk (and a little bit to wash the tops with before baking)
-125g unsalted butter
-generous handful of sultanas
-1 large egg
-pinch of salt
-2 heaped teaspoons cream of tartar
-1 heaped teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Plus a mixing bowl and some dough cutters, I use 8cm ones because I like whopping big scones…This recipe should give you about 6 reasonably-sized beacons of magnificence, or maybe 12 smaller ones.
-Turn the oven on! A toasty 200 degrees please.
-Sift all the dry ingredients together.
-Rub the butter into the dry stuff until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
-Add the sultanas and mix to distribute throughout.
-Whisk the egg and milk together, then gradually combine with the mix by hand and continue adding until you have a soft, workable dough. Add a bit more flour or milk as needed.
-Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and smooth out until about an inch thick.
-Cut out the scones with a floured cookie cutter, I use one 8cm in diameter which gives a decent(!) sized cake. Press straight down with the cutter and avoid twisting the dough otherwise they won’t rise straight up and you’ll get mini leaning towers of Pisa.
-Brush the tops of the cut scones with milk (I’d recommend a silicone brush here because it won’t leave bristles behind) and try not to get it on or let the milk drip down the sides, it’ll act like glue and stop the rise.
-Sprinkle sugar over the washed tops to show off.
-Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and well risen.
-If you’ve used the 8cm/a large cutter it is worth covering the scones with tin foil once they’ve turned gold and putting them in for another 5/10 minutes just to make sure the dough inside is cooked too.
Serve warm, with a good pot of tea.
Now, tradition in Devon dictates that Devonshire clotted cream goes on first, like butter would, and then the jam of choice goes on the top. This is because Devonian clotted cream is glorious and thick enough to support the jam layer on top. Cornish cream is thinner and so they have to make do by putting their cream on top of the jam (silly).