The scone is undoubtedly the perfect British treat. Clotted cream, jam, butter? However you take yours this recipe is dreamy.
“Other than red postboxes and the White Cliffs of Dover, I don’t think there’s anything more quintessentially British,” jokes Sarah Clelland, author of The National Trust Book of Scones.
Yet admirers of this wonderful cake-and-bread hybrid somehow still find reasons to quarrel.
“If you’re born in Scotland, or the North, you say scone to rhyme with the word gone, but the further south you go, the more likely you’re going to say it like the word bone.
This debate has really been raging lately,” she claims.
Jam or cream first?
But all that is nothing compared to the greatest rift within the “scone world”: Do you put the jam or the clotted cream on first? “That one is our civil war!” says Clelland. “People from Cornwall insist you add the jam first, and those who live in Devon believe it simply must be the cream. It is truly a minefield!”
Politics and phonetics aside, the author ultimately has one tip for anyone baking: “They must be fresh! Bake them, leave them to cool for maybe half an hour, then serve.”
For those craving a sweet, fruit-filled version, Clelland suggests this recipe with apples and blackberries. “They add lovely flavors to the scone,” she says, favoring the northern pronunciation. “I have to say it that way,” she admits. “My dad is Scottish.”
Blackberry and apple scones recipe
500g (18 oz.) self-rising flour
125g (5 oz.) soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
125g (5 oz.) salted butter, cubed
2 small apples, peeled and diced
175 ml (3/4 cup) milk
125g (5 oz.) fresh or frozen blackberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, sugar, and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, add the butter and rub in until it resembles fine crumbs.
Add the diced apples and mix briefly to distribute them evenly.
Pour the milk into a jug, crack in the egg and stir to mix. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually pour in the liquid, adding enough to draw all the mixture into a damp dough, but not enough to make it sloppy and wet.
Add the blackberries and sift through gently.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 3 centimeters (or a little more than an inch) thick. Stamp out using a 3-inch round fluted cutter and place it on the baking sheet. Gently knead the trimming together, re-roll and stamp out more rounds.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until risen and springy to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm with blackcurrant jam and clotted cream. (Choose the order wisely!)
* Originally published in Aug 2017.