Country cook Hannah Miles helps Jenni Murray perfect the humble scone.

Traditional Scones and Fruit Scones

No afternoon tea party is complete without traditional scones served with jam and clotted cream. They are surprisingly quick and easy to make if you follow the recipe correctly.

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Tips and techniques

  1. Weigh the ingredients carefully.
  2. Handle the dough as little as possible, just rub the butter in lightly with your fingertips – if you overwork it the dough will become tough and lose its light texture.
  3. Dust your cutter in flour between cutting out each scone as this will help the scones to rise.
  4. Place the scones on the baking tray so that they are almost touching; this helps the scones to rise up straight.
  5. You can brush the tops with beaten egg or milk and sprinkle with a little caster sugar to give a sweet crust.
  6. Vary the ingredients: adding sultanas or raisins, chopped nuts or chocolate chips to the recipe works well. Adding 1 tsp of ground culinary lavender will give beautifully fragrant scones.
  7. The scones are best eaten on the day they are made. You can freeze them as soon as they are cooled. When you are ready to eat them, defrost them completely then reheat in a hot oven for 5 minutes to refresh the scones.

Ingredients

  • 450g self raising flour, sifted plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125g salted butter chilled, plus extra for greasing
  • 60g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 250ml milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 tbsp rose syrup or rosewater (optional)
  • For fruit scones
  • 80g sultanas or raisins
  • 80g glacé cherries, halved
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Makes 10 scones

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 15-20 minutes

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/350F and grease and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Cut the chilled butter into cubes and rub into the flour lightly with your finger tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the caster sugar and milk (and dried fruit, cherries and cinnamon if making fruit scones) and mix to form a soft dough. Add a little more milk if the mixture is too dry.

On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the scone dough to 2.5cm thickness using a flour dusted rolling pin and cut out the scones with a 6cm round fluted cutter. Dust the cutter lightly in flour as you cut each scone to ensure a clean cut - this helps the scones to rise.

Place the scones on the baking tray so that they are almost touching which helps the scones to rise up straight.

Mix a few tablespoons of milk with the rose syrup and brush over the tops of the scones using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and the scones sound hollow when you tap them.

Leave on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool. These scones are best eaten on the day they are made.

Recipe - Cheese Scones

  • 450g self raising flour, sifted plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125g salted butter chilled, plus extra for greasing
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 60g Red Leicester cheese, grated plus extra for sprinkling
  • 60g strong Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • 250ml milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 egg, beaten

Makes 10 scones

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 15-20 minutes

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/350F and grease and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Place the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Cut the chilled butter into cubes and rub into the flour lightly with your finger tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the caster sugar, grated cheeses, mustard and the milk and mix to form a soft dough. Add a little more milk if the mixture is too dry.

On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the scone dough to 2.5cm thickness using a flour dusted rolling pin and cut out the scones with a 6cm round fluted cutter. Dust the cutter lightly in flour as you cut each scone to ensure a clean cut - this helps the scones to rise.

Place the scones on the baking tray so that they are almost touching which helps the scones to rise up straight.

Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg using a pastry brush and sprinkle with a little extra grated cheese.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and the scones sound hollow when you tap them.

Leave on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool. These scones are best eaten on the day they are made.

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