They are to a lot of people! Jane Romsey confirms this in her e-book ‘Traditional British Scone Recipes’:
Once tasted, never forgotten. Plain, unadorned and simple, scones are a quintessential part of the British way of life.
You may have come across Hamish MacBeth, the charming fictional Highland detective who makes house calls and is always offered scones, some light and fluffy as a feather and others like bricks. Well, having accompanied him on various scone-filled adventures I could resist no longer and had to start making them. And what better for a British expat with cholesterol issues than a healthy spelt curry scone? Britain’s favourite dish is not fish and chips but … yes, by jove you’ve guessed it, haven’t you? Curry! You can see where I’m going with this, so I’ll just show you the goods. This may also help the people who are saying ‘Scones? What’s a scone?’:
My little curry scones are Frankenstein creations, made with fragments of recipes from all over the place and a hotspotch of substitute healthy ingredients: spelt flour, natural greek yoghurt, honey, oatmilk, and spices of course.
At first it seemed my scones were actually scarier than Frankenstein. I greeted guests at the door and proudly announced we’d be having curry scones, yet not one jumped for joy. In fact they all looked alarmed and I could see panic flitting across their faces as they involuntarily moved nearer the door. But they stood firm – or sat at the table anyway.And lo and behold, a complete turnaround leading to the rapid demise of a succession of scones, delighted exclamations (Oh, they’re nice and soft inside!), recipe requests, and exit guests happily hugging tupperware filled with extra scones they were unable to refuse.
Well, you too can partake of these culinary masterpieces (okay, I might be exaggerating there) and produce them in half an hour or less! Yes indeedy. 15 minutes to prepare while the oven preheats, 10 to 12 minutes in the oven, 3 to 5 minutes to cool. This is not French patisserie. Which is why in the rolling British countryside, visitors calling on their friends are treated to scones and not croissants or Opera cake, which would require patience and an overnight bag.
So this recipe is for my friends, including all you dear savoury readers, so you can produce your own little stock of scones. They’re not the sweet traditional British scone or very Indian, but they are similar to the breadlike Irish soda scone so they can sit next to your soup and meals. Or contribute to a nice snack lunch or tea. For any time really. That’s it, I can resist no longer. If you could please read the recipe while I go off to the kitchen to get another scone…
Pre-heat your oven at 220°C (static, non-convection oven) or 200°C (fan-assisted oven) or a bit lower if you have an ‘energetic’ oven.
Place some baking (greaseproof) paper on a baking tray
Ingredients (makes about 10 to 12 scones)
In a small-medium sized bowl, whisk together then let it rest about 10 mins:
- 80g greek natural yoghurt (or vegan yoghurt/more oatmilk)
- 50g oatmilk
- 1/2 tablespoon (15g) runny honey
- 1 tablespoon (12g) freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a big bowl, whisk together:
- 160g white spelt flour (or half wholemeal spelt flour and half white spelt flour)
- scant 1/4 (quarter) tsp of fine sea salt
- scant 3/4 (three quarters) tsp medium curry powder
- scant 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- scant 1/4 tsp English mustard powder (apparently you can use 1/4 tbsp nice mustard instead)
(scant teaspoons means just a little less – for a more subtle flavour)
- A little oatmilk and a pastry brush
- A little flour to sprinkle over the scones with a small sieve
- clean worktop, rolling pin, round pastry cutter (mine is 58mm – 2 and 1/4 inch) or a glass
Now whisk these two rising agents into the dry ingredients, just before you start:
- 1 and a quarter teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Get ready to work quickly because as soon as the wet and dry ingredients get together they start reacting and forming gases that produce lighter scones. If they hang around too long, the gas goes off somewhere and you’ll end up with cute little bricks. And you don’t want that. So fast as you can …
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir with a fork or hand till the mixture is a sticky dough that comes together. Scrape sticky bits off your fingers and wash your hands.
- Knead the dough lightly and quickly with your fingertips, on your worktop with very little flour. The less flour you use, the better for the texture. I’ve read the dough should be tacky but not sticky! Is that any help?! I’ll show you a photo:
- Roll out the dough quickly and use your cutter or glass to make evenly-shaped scones. According to Jane Romsey, if you twist the cutter and make tears this will stunt a scone’s growth (poor thing) in the oven. So she recommends nice sharp, clean cutting overall.
- Use any dough left after cutting by quickly kneading together to make more scones.
- Place them on the baking paper/tray, spaced apart.
- Brush lightly with the oatmilk and sieve a little flour over each scone.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes (till golden brown and risen). If you look at the bottom it should be brown and make a hollow sound if you tap it.
- When out of the oven place the scones on a cooling rack and wait a bit before eating…!
So it’s time to lay the table, line up the scones and get ready to tuck in. Serve with butter, cream cheese, or anything you fancy. A cup of Masala Chai maybe? You can keep scones in tupperware for the next day or in the freezer but they’re best on the same day. Oh, and almost forgot to tell you: they go surprisingly well with a full spicy red wine – bit of food and wine pairing there for you!
Now if only the lanky and lovely Hamish Macbeth would turn up on your doorstep …
Till next time dear savoury reader! Happy baking and eating! 🙂
P.S. Are scones important to yoouu? What kind?