Crispy just-baked shells of cloud soft warm doughy sweetness. With raisins or with cheese. I’ve even seen treacle and herby ones too. Are they scary to make? No. Do they need that shop-bought perfection shape of approval? No. You could be sitting on a sunny croquet lawn in the West Country, or you could be in your front room with the rain pouring off the window pane – but I’m telling you now, there’s nothing nicer than a freshly baked scone with clotted cream and your favourite, well made pot of English tea.
The secret? Sorry – the secret is they’re just too easy to make! You’ll end up with a pile like these.
230g self raising flour
A tsp salt
25g unsalted cold butter
120ml ice cold milk
55g caster sugar
A handful of raisins
Sift the flour into a bowl, add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Cut the cold butter into small cubes – the colder the butter, the easier this is. Then, with your hands, rub the butter through the flour to make a crumbly mix. Add the raisins and then the milk, a little at a time, and using a knife stir it in, combining the liquid with the flour to bring together a cold dough. When you can form a small ball, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for no longer than a minute or two. You don’t want the dough to get too warm, just smooth enough to roll with a rolling pin or push out with your hands. Flatten the dough to no thinner than 1.5cm and using a pastry cutter (I used a 5cm diameter one) cut out scones and lay on a greased baking tray. Be sure that when you press the cutter into the scone dough, press evenly around the edges – this will help the scone rise more evenly and you wont get overly lopsided ones.
You should be able to get between 10 and 12 from the dough, but you will have to re-roll the dough trimmings out after the first five or six.
Once arranged on the tray, brush any left over milk over the tops.
Place on the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven on 220° for fifteen minutes or until nicely golden brown. Just keep an eye one them during those last few minutes – blackening edges make for ugly looking tops.
For cheesy scones, omit the sugar and raisins and grate about 100g (two heaped handfuls) of cheese into the flour before you rub the butter in. For a nice colour use something like Red Leicester. In actual fact, I also used some extra mature cheddar as well.