Classic Scones, Cheese Scones, Fruited Scones
Classic scones are basically a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio of flour to butter (by weight), with baking powder (or soda), a little sugar and enough milk added to make a dough. They’re a crumbly, flaky quick bread – achieved through not using as much liquid as a bread and using the rubbing in method with the fat. Some use egg to wash the tops before baking, others just use milk. Some use buttermilk instead of milk, or add a squeeze of lemon juice to sour normal milk before using.
Rolling and stamping out does seem to help them keep their shape when baking, but if you prefer a more rustic scone by all means just pat it into a circle and divide using a knife or dough cutter.
I’ve gone with a smaller quantity of scones than most recipes, due to the fact that they really need to be eaten fresh (though they do freeze well). Feel free to scale up if you’re baking for a crowd.
Also – you can consider adding spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. I think ginger scones with ground ginger and stem ginger would be a knock-out.
Hear me out, but you could leave out/reduce the sugar for a cheese scone but still have dried fruit in it. We serve dried fruit cakes and breads with cheese all the time in England and it’s completely delicious.
P.S. To me, chocolate does not belong in scones, but I can’t articulate why. It’s just not a thing. I love them both separately but never the twain should meet. But I could be missing out?!
Basic Scone Recipe
Makes 4-8 depending on how big you make them.
- 150g plain/ AP flour
- 50g butter
- A pinch of salt
- 1 heaped tsp/ 6g baking powder
- c. 25g sugar (you may want to reduce if making cheese scones, but many recipes don’t)
- c. 75ml milk (whole preferred but whatever you have on hand – scones are not fine pastry they’re homely and rustic)
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with milk, to glaze, or a little extra milk (you could sprinkle the scones with a little sugar before baking if you like – coarse for a crunchy top e.g. demerara or turbinado)
- 50g sultanas, currants or raisins (for fruited scones)
- 45g grated cheddar (for cheese scones)
- Clotted cream and jam, to serve (if making sweet scones)
- Butter if making cheese scones – you could also consider serving them with more cheese and a little chutney.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/ 375F/ 170Cfan/ gas 5.
- Mix the flour, salt and baking powder.
- Rub the flour into the butter using your preferred method – fingertips, pastry cutter, food processor, whatever.
- Stir in the sugar.
- Add the milk to form a dough. Use your judgement here – if it’s looking too dry, add more, a drop at a time, or if it’s looking wet enough, do stop before 75ml/g.
- Pat out to a few inches’ thickness (thicker or thinner depending on how you’d like your scones). Stamp out shapes as you like.
- Bake straight away for around 15 minutes. Best eaten on the day they’re made, even better slightly warm – but not too warm to melt the clotted cream…
Dawn Perry’s Sour Cream and Fruit Scones
Adapted from here.
I’ve been meaning to try a scone with real berries in it since I saw some raspberry scones my Aunt had been served up at a tea room in Devon. This is the second recipe I tried, and was more successful. I think the key is using frozen berries so they don’t add too much moisture before baking.
I’ve converted everything to metric and halved the sugar – we Brits prefer a less sweet scone because we tend to serve them with really good cream (and usually jam, but I prefer this berry scone with just cream).
Any British purists reading – a lot of historic scone recipes call for buttermilk, so sour cream is really not a bad idea.
Makes 8 large scones
- 255g plain/ all purpose flour
- 50g sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder (yes, a full tablespoon)
- A pinch of salt
- 115g butter (I use salted)
- 130g frozen berries (I used a mix of blackberries and blueberries; they really MUST be frozen and strawberries will not work well – stick to blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries or similar)
- 135g sour cream (full-fat)
- 60g milk (whole preferably, but I used semi-skimmed/ 2% as it’s what I had)
- 1 egg yolk and about 2 tsp more milk, for brushing
- To serve: ideally clotted cream – if you can’t get hold of it, the highest fat cream you can find, lightly whipped
- Preheat the oven to 190C/ 375F / 190C fan / gas 5.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Rub in the butter and flour using your preferred method. The original recipe suggests using grated butter, I just loosely rubbed the butter into the flour using my pastry cutter.
- Make a well in the centre, add the sour cream and most of the milk. You might want to hold a little back in case you don’t need it all. Bring together into a ball. Add the rest of/ a little more milk if needed but very gradually and carefully – it will quickly turn into a sticky mess.
- Working quickly so they don’t defrost, mix in the berries.
- Pat out into a circle or square. Divide into 8. Bake for about 25 minutes, checking at 15 and 20 to see how much longer it may need. If it’s catching (this is probably the sugar from the berries), turn down the oven a fraction.
More Scone Ideas….
I could do several episodes just on scones, but I do enjoy other things occasionally! Instead, if you’d like to try different recipes from those given, you may wish to purchase The National Trust’s Book of Scones by scone-obsessive Sarah Merker. Or have a look at the scone section on their website. If you’re baking for vegans or dairy free people, look at the vegan scone recipe here – which includes a method for a vegan clotted cream replacement.