There used to be a café in town that did the most delicious scones. I’m not sure how many cream teas we ate there over the past couple of years, whilst sat outside sunning ourselves and people watching. Sadly, it closed a few months ago, and I don’t know of anywhere else local that even comes close to the scone perfection we used to enjoy. It’s not that I’m a scone purist (as my recipe below shows.) I just want three things – for my scones to be freshly baked, served with a homemade jam, and it just has to be clotted cream – none of this whipped cream nonsense. So perhaps it’s time that I try and hone this formula myself. B is very much the pastry and bread maker in this house, being very talented (and unafraid!) in those areas. But I wanted to surprise her with these, so this is my first, and unaided, attempt!
I used a recipe from Delia, and then modified it by swapping the mixed fruit for cranberries and adding in the orange zest. I resisted adding any spice (the inspiration for these was from some M&S cranberry-orange hot cross buns) but threw in a dash of vanilla. I was really pleased with them as a first attempt – the only thing I’ll modify next time would be to add a tiny bit of extra moisture. I just used the 3 tablespoons of milk called for in the recipe, and perhaps I should’ve added a little more when binding the dough. So next time I’ll try that – or maybe I’ll get some extra liquid in there by soaking the cranberries in orange juice. They’ll definitely be made again, though!
225g self raising flour, plus a little extra
40g golden caster sugar
75g soft butter
50g dried cranberries
Zest of 2 large oranges
1 large egg
3 tbsp. milk, plus a little extra
A dash of vanilla
A pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 220°C (I actually set mine to 200, as it’s extra hot.)
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces, then rub in to the flour with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.
Beat together the egg and vanilla essence. Add the cranberries, orange zest, egg and three tablespoons of milk to the flour mix. Stir together with a knife, then use your hands to form the dough into a ball shape. I think it was at this point that I should have added a little extra milk – the dough is supposed to be soft, but not sticky. If you think you need more milk, do so one teaspoon at a time.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Flour your rolling pin, then roll out the dough until it’s about 3cm high (mine ended up ended up being about 2.5cm – otherwise I would only have been able to make seven scones) then use a small pastry cutter, or, if you’re me, a glass, to shape your scones. Delia says to make sure you don’t twist your cutter whilst doing this, otherwise you’ll end up with less scone shaped scones!
Dust the tops with flour (is this really necessary?) then gently place each scone onto a very lightly floured baking tray. Bake near the top of the oven for about 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Delicious fresh from the oven, with butter and a drizzle of honey!