Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Ah the scone...that quintessential NZ baking icon which has graced many an afternoon or morning tea from posh homes placed on dainty beautiful plates and topped with homemade jam and cream to farming homes at 'smoko' time served in proper 'man' sizes laden with butter and jam. The scone comes in all flavours and is the perfect vehicle limited only by your imagination. My mother used to make cheese scones (yuk...I don't eat cheese) or date scones regularly and for a real treat the cinnamon scroll (my favourite to this day). For families struggling the scone can provide a filling and delicious lunch especially as all you need is some flour, baking powder, a bit of butter and some milk to whip them up. My kids love them for lunch in the weekend and will scoff them all down if I let them.
It all seems to be so easy to make a scone, surely anyone worth their salt in the kitchen can whip up a batch of scones....surely? Well the delights of making a good scone has eluded me for years. I just could not get them right and would often end up with things resembling doorstops. In fact I even, (and this is a huge confession here), ended up using for some time.....scone mix!!! I know how could I???!!! My friend Leigh always had the scone touch learned through cooking at the IHC for years. Leigh is the queen of all food comfort...scones, pikelets (although I have held for a few years now the most perfect pikelet recipe so I think I could match her here finally), custard, white/cheese sauce are just some examples of what I have had to compete with in the comfort food stakes for over 20 years!
Until now! While I freely admit that I will never achieve scone-queen status as Leigh has, these are pretty bloody good. For me the secrets have been to a) grate in the cold butter before lightly rubbing it into the flour, b) make the dough quite wet, c) mix and handle it as little as humanly possible. You will be rewarded with light, delicious scones you can be proud of...and I am! If you happen to have any leftover, they reheat well in the oven the next day.
2 c plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
50 g cold butter
1 c milk
Heat the oven to 205C fan bake (or 230C normal bake)
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Grate the cold butter into the flour and lightly rub it in.
Using a knife gently mix in the milk.
Turn onto a floured bench and shape in the widish log. Cut into 8 pieces (you can also use a round cutter if you want them to be more uniform. '
Bake 12 mins.
Enjoy with butter (try the Lewis Creamery butter for an authentic and totally divine flavour of butter made the old fashioned way), jam (try Te Horo...yum!) and of course freshly whipped cream. I also love them with lemon curd too.
Place reasonably close together on a baking paper lined cold tray and brush with milk.