23 October 2010

The perfect afternoon tea

Hannah recorded a Martha Stewart show during the week and we watched it this afternoon and I was a little surprised to find that I know more about something than Martha does!

Some of you may watch the show (shown weekdays on 7Two) hosted by the 21st century epitome of housekeeping, but I don't so you can imagine my glee when I realised she doesn't know how to make real scones!  Poor Martha, she had eggs and sugar in the dough and had the scones spaced about an inch apart on the tray.  Then she brushed the tops with beaten egg and sprinkled them with more sugar.  The recipe she demonstrated as "real English scones" only bore a faint resemblance to what we know as scones, although they did look a similar shape when they were cooked.

Now I can make scones, both traditional and my favourite Lemonade Scones, and they are always scrumptious and never last long. In fact if ever there are any left the next day the boys split them, toast them under the grill and either top them with honey or jam and cheese and wolf them down in no time.

The recipe for Lemonade Scones is very easy and absolutely no fail. If you're a beginner scone maker try this recipe first, you'll love it.

Lemonade Scones

1 cup of lemonade
1 cup of cream
3 cups of self-raising flour

Preheat oven to very hot 220C. Add lemonade and cream to flour, mix to form soft dough, then place mixture on floured surface. Knead dough to a 2 cm thickness and cut with a floured cutter. Place close together on tray, brush with whisked egg and bake for 10 - 15 minutes.

Here's my "traditional" scone recipe, also very easy and no fail. You'll notice I don't put sugar into these scones, I think the jam is sweet enough. It also means that they can be used for savoury toppings without tasting odd. Try them with pickle and grated cheese or cream cheese and salmon, they are just delicious.

Traditional Scones
3 cups SR flour
90g chilled butter (not margarine), cut into 1cm cubes
1 cup milk
A little extra milk, for brushing

Pre-heat oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Place flour in a large bowl. Tip chilled, cubed butter into bowl. Working quickly  and using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the milk and using a flat-bladed knife mix until just combined. Sprinkle a pastry sheet or benchtop with some flour and turn the dough out. Knead gently with your fingertips, shaping into a round. Using the palm of your hand flatten the dough to about 2cm thick. Cut into rounds with a scone cutter dipped in flour (this will stop it sticking to the dough). Place the scones onto the baking tray so they are just touching. Brush the tops only lightly with milk and place in oven. Bake for 10 -12 minutes until golden.

Serve warm from the oven with raspberry or strawberry jam and whipped cream.

My top tips for scone making:
  • Work quickly - from tipping the butter into the flour to getting the scones into the oven shouldn't be more than five minutes.
  • Always use butter - margarine will work but the flavour and texture are not quite as good.
  • Always use chilled butter so it rubs into the flour without melting. Soft butter melts into the flour, turning it to a greasy dough and producing flat, hard scones.
  • Use your fingertips when rubbing in the butter as they don't get as hot as your hands.
  • If you don't want to or are not able to use your fingertips, you can get a pastry cutter which will do the job for you. You'll find them at homeware stores for around $8 each.
  • Never roll the dough with a rolling pin - it will take the air out of the dough, making tough, dry scones.
  • Brush only the tops of the scones to help with rising.
  • Scones that are touching rise higher and bake more evenly than if they are spaced on the tray.

If you've never made scones, give them a go. They are so easy and you'll be the best hostess if you can whip up a batch of fresh scones with jam and cream for the perfect afternoon tea.


  1. Hi Cath
    I'm not surprised at all that you know more than Martha Stewart lol
    My Nan & Mum ( English) have never made scones with sugar and my mum makes beautiful lemonade scones now. Even i make pretty good ones
    cheers Karen xo

  2. A really good tip with the butter is to grate it rather than the traditional chop, it comes together much more quickly and less rubbing in means less handling - i do this with pastry as well for a lighter crust.

  3. Quite agree with Karen! Pat


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