The Great British Bake Off has become one of my favorite shows. It’s a British baking competition that’s filmed in the English countryside, and the contestants are just a delight. There’s no meansprited comments and it’s all friendly competition. I’ve watched the last few seasons on PBS and I’m super sad that the hosts and one of the judges are leaving after this season!
The show has sparked my curiosity about British baking, and I have been researching all the British baking terms I hear on every show- Victorian sponge, scones, biscuits, tray bakes…to name a few!
So, the nerdy, pastry loving foodie in me spent some time Googling recipes for sponges and scones, and I decided to go ahead and attempt the scones only because I bought English clotted cream while on a trip to Whole Foods. I had no idea what it was when I bought it, but I knew that English people put it on their scones from my best friend who had high tea in London a few years ago. When life gives you clotted cream, you make scones. (but really, is there not a better name for it? I don’t like the word clotted.)
After doing some investigating, I discovered that the biggest differences between British and American scones are the sugar and butter content (Brits use less), and British scones typically don’t have any fruit, nuts, chocolate, or spices mixed in. I found an in-depth article about it on Cook’s Illustrated if you’re interested in scones.
I used a recipe from one of the Great British Bake Off judges, Mary Berry, who I just love. I would equate her to our Martha Stewart, but I think Mary is much cooler. To get the full British effect, slather a thick layer of English clotted cream and strawberry jam on the scones, and eat them in the afternoon with a cup of tea.
They are best served the day they are made and don’t keep very well. They come together quickly and would be cute, fun addition to your brunch, wedding or baby shower, or afternoon tea party with friends!
- 2 1/4 cups self-raising flour
- 1 rounded tsp baking powder
- 3 1/2 T. softened butter
- 2 T. sugar
- 1 large egg
- 4 oz milk
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Put the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
- Beat the egg and milk together, then set aside a tablespoon for glazing the scones later.
- Gradually add the egg and milk to the dry ingredients, stirring it in until you have a soft slightly sticky dough
- Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out until it is about ¾ in thick. Use a 1½ in fluted cutter to stamp out the scones. Make sure you don’t twist the cutter or the scones will not rise evenly.
- Gently gather the trimmings together and pat out again to cut more scones
- Arrange the scones on the greased baking trays and brush the tops with the remaining milk.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until well risen and golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To serve, cut each scone in half and top with strawberry jam and clotted or whipped cream.
adapted from Mary Berry's Tea Time Scone recipe at http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/tea_time_scones_77839