Updated: Oct 30, 2022
The best scones I have ever experience having was actually at a high tea at Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, but that was 7 years ago when they were served in bread tins. I am not sure if they still do that but that was one great experience for just a scones right? Well, not really, scones can be so much more if you appreciate them and that was when high tea-ing was a thing. :)
What makes a good scone?
To me, a good scones should have a crunchy crust and a soft and crumbly interior. I personally prefer a softer and moist interior that are not too dry or chewy in texture. The trick in achieving that is to not over mix the dough and use cold temperature ingredients.
TIPS FOR MAKING SCONES
Use cold ingredients
To ensure that the scones are crumbly in texture and not too tough and rubbery, make sure that when you rub the cold butter in to the flour until the mixture resembles a fine bread crumbs. The idea is to coat the fat around the flour to prevent gluten from developing which will give you the crumbly texture.
The eggs and milk incorporated into the mixture should be as cold as possible to inhibit gluten development in the dough which can cause the scones to be chewy.
Rest the dough before cutting and baking
It is crucial that you rest your scone dough in the fridge to allow the ingredients to absorb on to one another before rolling them out and baking. This will ensure that your scones will have a good rise and is not flat after baking.
Can I use b-carbonate Soda instead of baking powder for making scones?
The answer is yes. The rule of thumb when you are substituting baking powder for bi-carbonate soda is to divide the amount by 3. Because bi-carbonate soda is usually three times stronger and more active than baking powder, you do not need as much when using bi-carbonate soda. Since Bi Carbonate Soda needs acid to activate to its full potential, it is recommended to use buttermilk in the recipe rather than plain milk for its acidity. Baking Powder usually already has some acid in them and are usually cream of tartar and therefore do not require that you add other ingredients with that property in the recipe.
Be careful not to use too much bi-carbonate soda or your scones will give off a sour taste to it.
How to know when you scones are ready?
To know when your scones are ready, pick up a scones and gently tap the base. It should sound hollow.
Leftover baked scones should be wrapped in cling film and is left at room temperature, it should last up to 3 days. Simply place it in the oven for a few minutes before serving.
Scones that are baked can also be stored wrapped in the freezer and can last for up to 3 months depending on the freezing condition of your freezer. Thaw the scones at room temperature before baking them in the oven.
Tools: Cut to 60mm round x 20 mm thickness
Yield: Makes - 15 x 6 cm diameter scones
450 g Plain Flour
30 g Baking Powder (or 10 g Bi-carbonate Soda)
80 g Castor Sugar
50 g Egg
210 g Full Cream Milk
3 g Salt
100 g Unsalted Butter
1 Egg yolk (for brushing)
170 g Pitted Cherries (I use Fresh Cherries)
100 g Castor Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon powder
50 g Lemon Juice (around 3 large lemons)
20 g Kirsch
For the Scones
1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Place flour and unsalted butter in a bowl.
Use your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs then stir in sugar, salt and baking powder
3. Make a well in the center of the mix then place the egg in the well, stir to gently combined then pour the milk to mix. Gently stir and mix then transfer on to the work bench and gently knead until a dough is formed and there are no dry bits of flour present.
Place a damp tea towel on top of the bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4. Once the dough have rested, pre heat the oven to 200°C on fan force.
While the oven is heating, dust the workbench with some plain flour then turn the rested dough over. Gently knead the dough with your hands until the surface is smooth. Do not be tempted to overwork the dough otherwise the scones will turn tough and chewy.
5. Dust the workbench and the top of the dough with some flour and with the help of a rolling pin that has been lightly floured as well, roll the dough out to approximately 20 mm/ 2 cm in thickness.
6. Using a 6 cm in diameter round cutter, dip the cutter into some flour then cut out individual scones and place them on to the prepared baking tray leaving enough gap between each scones. (The scones will not expand much but the even spacing allow a more even heat flow in the oven so that the scones can bake more evenly.)
Brush the top of each scones with some egg yolk, then bake in the pre heated oven placing the tray in the middle rack for approximately 15 to 18 minutes or until the scones turn golden in colour at the top and when you tap the base of the scones they sound hollow.
Note: Always check the readiness of your scones in 15 minutes mark. As different oven bake at a different rate, it is always better to check earlier than later. I baked mine for 17 minutes.
7. Remove the tray from the oven and serve hot with a serving of mascarpone or whipped butter.
Note: The extra scones dough can be combined and re roll again. Just ensure that you work the dough as little as possible. It is recommended to only reroll the dough no more than two more times as the more you re roll the dough, the toucher the scones will be.
If you want to achieve a more rustic scones that are paler in colour, simply omit the egg wash and dust some flour on top of the scones before baking.
For the Cherry Jam
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan large enough for it to rise triple its volume. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Leave to boil for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until it starts to slightly thicken. As the jam starts to cool, it will become thicker in consistency. Do not over cook the jam.
Note: If you do happen to have overcooked the jam, simply stir in some lemon juice or water until it comes to a desire consistency. Be mindful that if you are adding more lemon juice, the jam will be more sour. If you undercooked your jam on the other hands, simply place them back into the saucepan over low heat and cook a little more.