Classic scones are a must at afternoon tea—one of the three requisite courses—but can be enjoyed any time you sit down with a cup of tea or coffee. On days I’ll be having a late lunch, a warm scone for elevenses (British English for mid-morning tea break) will keep me going.
For an afternoon tea, clotted cream, lemon curd and strawberry or raspberry jam are offered with the scones. For everyday tea, though, you might wish to save the calories and have them plain. But can you really call that currant-filled, orange-scented, buttery goodness plain?
Though you more frequently see round scones, I always make the traditional wedge shape in honor of my grandmother, an Englishwoman of unquestionable baking skills. But I wouldn’t turn down a well-made round scone either!
Makes 16 scones
2 packed cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Zest of one orange
1/2 cup currants or other chopped dried fruit
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in orange zest and dried fruit to coat and separate. Add buttermilk, egg and vanilla; pour into dry mixture and gently mix until just combined.
*If you prefer to glaze the tops of your scones, beat the egg lightly and reserve one tablespoon to mix with a teaspoon of water to brush on tops only just before baking.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle two 6-inch circles lightly with flour. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment and gently pat the dough, dusting with flour as needed, into two 6-inch rounds. Cut each round into 8 wedges. Pull the wedges out and space them an inch or two apart. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.