Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sunday Scones

Cream Tea.

Such beautiful words. The very mention of these two words conjures up fragrant images of freshly baked warm golden scones, spread generously with luxuriously thick clotted cream and a dollop of sweet, tart strawberry jam. These and a pot of delicately flavoured earl grey tea. What more could you ask for for afternoon tea?

When I first moved to London, I've never heard of cream tea, much less tasted it. Even when I was in charming Bath, where tea rooms were plenty, the snaking queue of tourists waiting to have cream tea at the famous Pump Room meant it was no longer going to be afternoon by the time I sit down for afternoon tea. I cannot remember (Why?!) where I first experienced the joy of biting through crispy crust into scrumptious soft centre of a scone, but I can tell you, I never looked back since.

I have been making scones from Sophie Conran's recipe for a while now. The original is for choc scones and fruit scones, but since I have so much wholemeal flour left and this is meant to be a blog for more wholesome bakes, I have adapted her recipes for...tadaaaa!...these deliciously sweet date and walnut scones. Dates and walnuts are a classic combination and I am really pleased they've worked for scones.

Here's the recipe:

Date and Walnut Healthy-ish Scones

(makes 10)
125g self raising wholemeal flour
125g self-raising white flour
50g cold butter, cut into small cubes
100g golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
50ml milk
50g dried dates (without stones), cut into small cubes
50g walnut, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 220˚C/Gas Mark 7. Rub the flour and butter together in a bowl until it's the consistency of breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, baking powder, salt, dates and walnuts. Mix in the egg and enough milk to bind and form the dough into a ball with your hands. Roll out until 2cm thick on a floured board. Using a cookie cutter or small upturned glass, cut into rounds. Place on a non-stick baking tray. Cook for 10-15mins or until slightly browned. Allow to cool.

Scones are always round. I had star-shaped scones because I had to be different. No, actually the star shaped cutter was the only one I had since it was a gift from a dear friend. I think they make quite pretty scones! I had a slight accident with the forever erratic oven again, so they are darker than they should be.

I eat them as they are, warmed. But if you like, cut into half before serving and fill with banana slices, or cream (naughty, naughty!) or just spread with margarine or jam.


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