My friend Emily (of teaching-me-to-make-sourdough-bread fame) and I get together almost every Wednesday for a play date during which we play, and her 5-month-old Evan watches us from his Soothing Vibrations chair.
Because we both love all culinary pursuits, and take great pride in our roles as Domestic Goddesses, we always incorporate cooking into our hangout sessions. We also usually incorporate a film, often one set in Europe, because, well, we love Europe.
Last time, though, we just made scones, and had tea like English ladies, and were ever so proud of ourselves all day long, and for several days after because, let me tell you: Best. Scones. Ever. I’ll admit we were a little intimidated before beginning, but somehow we pulled it off. Here’s how:
scant 4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 medium eggs, beaten, plus 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
scant 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1.5 tbsp baking powder
3/4 stick butter, softened
1 cup milk
generous 1/2 cup golden raisins (or just regular raisins)
1. Go ahead and stick all the ingredients – except the egg for the eggwash, duh, and the golden raisins – into a bowl and, using a big spoon, mix for about 5 minutes. (You can also use a kitchen mixer with a paddle blade, but we’re not that fancy.)
2. Add the golden raisins into the dough and tip out onto a lightly floured countertop. Now, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 2 inches thick, then, using a round cutter – or, if you’re less fancy, like us, a jar – cut out the scones.
3. Put the scones on a greased baking sheet and brush with the eggwash. If you have time – and I suggest you make time – chill the scones in the fridge for half an hour before baking. It helps them to rise straight up in the oven. Go ahead and preheat the oven now, while you’re waiting. 425 degrees Fahrenheit, please.
4. Finally, take the scones out of the fridge and brush the tops again with eggwash, being careful not to let it dribble down the sides. Apparently, if it does, it will hinder their rise in the oven. But I’m here to tell you there was some dribbling, and it wasn’t the end of the world. Bake for 15 minutes, let cool for a few minutes, then serve warm.
English scones are typically served with clotted cream and strawberry or raspberry jam, but as clotted cream is not generally readily available this side of Cornwall, we found whipped cream was quite nice.
How we did it:
1/2 a pint of heavy whipping cream and 2 tsp. sugar for a mild sweetness that goes oh-so-nicely with the scones and jam. Whip that mess with a hand mixer and then lick the beaters. Don’t let your baby watch closely, even though you think he’ll like the beating sound. He will not.
*Also, half our scones were cheese scones. All we did was leave out the raisins (please, eww) and add about 1/2 a cup cheddar cheese instead. That’s 1/2 a cup for half the recipe, kapeesh? And mix it into the dough with your hands, instead of using a spoon. Cheese scones are best eaten plain or with a smidge of butter. But really, do what you want.
**Original recipe from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads; adaptations by me.