Scones Mate

Scones  mate…

 

Called Biscuits in the USA, now what’s that all about, everyone knows that biscuits are flattish affairs that are usually crispish with a variety of flavours and I reckon that pressed, you could even call my mothers jam filled, pink icing shortbread like creations, biscuits. But I want to know when a scone became a biscuit. I suspect that it may have something to do with ‘ships biscuits’.

 

Wikepedia offers…

The introduction of the baking of processed cereals including the creation of flour provided a more reliable source of food. Egyptian sailors carried a flat brittle loaf of millet bread called dhourra cake, while the Romans had a biscuit called buccellum. King Richard I of England, (aka Richard the Lionheart) left for the Third Crusade (1189-92) with “biskit of muslin,” which was a mixed grain compound of barley, rye and bean flour.[4] The introduction of the baking of processed cereals including the creation of flour provided a more reliable source of food. Egyptian sailors carried a flat brittle loaf of millet bread called dhourra cake, while the Romans had a biscuit called buccellum. King Richard I of England, (aka Richard the Lionheart) left for the Third Crusade (1189-92) with “biskit of muslin,” which was a mixed grain compound of barley, rye and bean flour.

Still doesn’t answer the question, on what basis do the yanks call their scones biscuits and, even more pertinent, is the recipe they use for their scone/biscuit, the same one our mothers used? A challenge.

 

I note that in Age Epicure that Scones rate a mention and that the recipe was the same as the one that we have always used, very simple, very easy but perhaps not the most exciting of recipes. Mind you that said, it seems that this may well have been the original. Its said that scones originated in Scotland and Wales where they were made as Griddle Cakes… have any of you tasted Griddled cakes (they are called Girdle in the UK and are cooked on a special flat plate with a large rounded handle). Mum used to make these occasionally and although the recipe is the same, the taste is a little different, I suspect because of the cooking method. They are delicious and it’s a pity we are not making them today.

 

Like many foods, scones have undergone some modernisation and have been subject to a lot of indignities, I of course blame the USA, they are, I am sure responsible for such food atrocities as putting chocolate chips into hot cross buns. I must tell you I gagged when I accidentally tasted one of these horrible things. Its my age, I am not up for too much change, that seems to happen as you age, change is more difficult. Mind you that does not preclude trying new things.

 

The following is what I wrote some years back… reading it still makes sense.

 

SCONES

*make them every Sunday night for tea, your family will love you for it.

*don’t over handle them, it makes them tough.

*some countries make up this mixture and top a casserole or stew with it.

*be creative, add bacon bits and chunks of cheese.

*use this basic recipe for all the adaptations.. sweet. fruit, savoury.

*cut the butter in, don’t rub it.

3 cups of self raising flour

1 tspn of salt

60gr (2oz)  butter

1 cup of milk

 

Sift the flour into a bowl, cut the butter up as small as possible then add to the flour, using either  a tool specially made for the job (it looks like a many bladed curved knife) or a couple of knives, cut the butter through the flour until it resembles very fine breadcrumbs. Add nearly all the milk and keep mixing with either the pastry cutter or two knives until you have a dough that is not too compressed. Add the rest of the milk to form a good dough, the dough should be as soft as can be handled, the softer the dough the softer and more tender the scones. To knead or not to knead has always been the question with scones, lets go for compromise, knead very lightly for just 30 seconds and pat the dough flat 2 – 3 cm is about right. Cut into shapes with a floured knife, place on a cool tray that has been lightly buttered and floured and bake in a preheated oven 220c for 10 – 12 minutes.

 

Guide Lines For Great Scones

* golden brown with a smooth level top.

* symmetrical in shape (round or square).

* crust should be crisp and tender, free from excess flour.

* the inside should be light and slightly moist, easy to pull apart.

* creamy white interiors.

* medium fine texture with a pleasing flavour.

Adaptations For Scones

* fruit scones… add 1 tblspn of sugar and 1/2 cup dried fruit (spice if you like it).

* cheese scones…. 1/3 cup grated cheese, your choice plus a little mustard 1/4tspn.

* herb scones…. your choice of herbs, just mix them through, fresh is best, try some extra pepper and paprika.

* wholemeal add 50/50 wholemeal plain self raising flour and lift the milk a little.

* for a lighter scone try 1/3 water to 2/3 milk.

* scones can be fried in butter and oil, they have a quite different flavour and texture.

* scones can also be cooked on a flat griddle just lightly coated with melted butter, don’t have the griddle too hot.

* eat them hot from the oven or cover them with a tea towel, they are grate warm.

* toast them for breakfast next morning, watch the ones with sugar, they will burn quickly.

 

Pikelets Or Griddle Scones

These are great favourites for fetes and fairs, but equally loved by families. they are so simple that the children can be allowed to cook them.

1 cup self raising flour

1/2 tspn salt

2 tblspn sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk

30gr (1oz)  melted butter.

Put all of the above into the food processor and mix to a fine batter. Simple!

Use a flat griddle plate or a good solid frying pan, get it heated to a moderate heat, rub the surface with butter or oil and drop one tablespoon full per pikelet, allow for spreading, cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the gloss or shine has gone, flip it over and cook for 1/2 the time on the other side.

Serve with butter, jam and cream.

 

Now for some recipes for other scone types… I just recently tried the UK version of cream scones and there were CWA ladies fainting all about the place at the addition of egg into scone, apart from the ‘drying’ quality that an egg can do, simply increase the liquid to be sure that it is wet enough. Scones are better on the wet side, makes them tender.

 

Fruit Scones made with buttermilk.

Buttermilk is a slightly fermented milk that is the remnant left over when cream is separated. It contains high amounts of lactic acid. You may use normal milk to make buttermilk, to every one cup of milk, add 1 tablespoon vinegar (white or cider) and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Buttermilk is traditionally used in baking, it is low fat and adds a yoghurt like tang to foods.

225 gr SR Flour

40 gr Caster Sugar

75 gr Butter

50 gr mixed dried fruit

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 – 4 tablespoons buttermilk

pinch of salt

if you like it, you can add a little mixed sweet spice, although its not traditional.

 

Rub the butter into the sifted flour, salt and sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs, sprinkle in the fruit, add the egg and 3 tblspns of buttermilk. Begin to mix with a knife and finish with your hands, adding more milk as necessary to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Pat flat on a floured work surface 2.5 cm thick and cut into shapes. Bake in a preheated oven 220c on a lightly greased tray for 10 – 12 minutes.

 

Date Scones… a great favourite of my Mother’s family who seemed to produce them in endless streams.

I also love a date loaf.. extremely easy and very good to eat and one that made its appearance at almost every event of my childhood.

 

Date Loaf

1 Cup chopped dates

1 Cup lightly packed brown sugar

60g butter or margarine

1 Cup boiling water

1 3/4 Cups self raising flour – sifted

1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

 

Put chopped dates and sugar in a bowl and add sliced butter.

Pour in boiling water stirring until butter has melted completely.

Add in sifted flour, then bicarbonate soda, mixing well – add vanilla.

Bake in a well greased loaf tin in a moderate over (180 degrees celcius) for 45 – 50 min

 

Back to date scones

225 grams SR flour

1 tspn baking powder

pinch of salt

2 tbspn sugar

1 tblspn butter

½ cup chopped dates

1 small egg beaten

150 mil milk

 

Rub the butter into the sifted flour, salt, baking powder and sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs, stir in the chopped dates. Combine the egg and milk and pour into the mix, cut through with a knife and end with your hands to make a soft smooth dough. Pat or roll to about 2.5 cm deep and cut into shapes. Bake in a preheated 220c oven for 10 minutes or until golden and cooked.

 

Cheese Scones

I love these and my family do too, the kids used to love them with butter and vegemite.

200 gr SR Flour

1 tspn baking powder

¼ tspn salt

½ tspn mustard powder

½ tspn cayenne pepper powder

40 grams butter

60 grams grated strong cheddar cheese

100 mil milk

Rub the butter into the sifted SR flour, salt, baking powder, mustard, cayenne until it resembles breadcrumbs, add the cheese and mix, then add the milk, cut through with a knife and then finish by hand to a soft dough. Pat to a depth of 2.5 cm and cup to shape. Bake in a preheated oven 220 cm for 10 minutes. Serve with butter.

 

CWA Scones.. a recipe to use for a larger catering occasion

750 grams SR Flour

1 tspn salt

250ml cream

500 mil milk.

 

Sift the flour and salt, add cream and milk to make a soft dough, roll to a depth of about 2.5 cm, cut into shapes and bake in a preheated oven 220c for 8 – 10 minutes. Serve with cream and jam.

 

Cream Scones

These are a little different, richer perhaps.

450gr SR flour

pinch baking powder

pinch of salt

50 gr caster sugar

110gr butter

1 egg lightly beaten

50 mil double cream

200 mil milk

 

Sift the flour with the sugar, salt, caster sugar, rub in the butter till it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the lightly beaten egg with the cream and milk and mix into the flour mix. Cut through with a knife and finish by hand. The dough should be a soft mix. Pat to a depth of 2 – 3 cm and cut to shape. Bake in a preheated oven 220 c for 12 – 15 minutes.

 

Lemonade Scones

And finally I will just give you the recipe for Lemonade Scones…. It was on a visit to Melbourne to let my mother do a little shopping that we ventured into Myer Melbourne. Now I never objected to this as it meant we could ‘push the tray’ in the cafeteria for lunch and I loved that. As we passed through the food hall, our attention was taken by what I assume was a chef of the day demonstrating, you guessed it, Lemonade Scones. My mother was amazed, I was astounded and the scones obviously impressed… so here goes.

 

250 mil lemonade

250 mil cream

3 cups SR flour

 

Sift the flour and mix in the lemonade and cream to make a soft smooth dough. Pat to a 2.5 cm depth and cut to shape. Cook in a preheated 220c oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

 

Now all you have to do is hunt up some good butter and make some great jam… my own fave is Apricot, but that season is now over.

 

Good luck

 

Peter Watson

5th April 2011

 

 

 

 

~ by peterwatson on April 5, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: