Nothing beats Sunday evening blues like baking up an afternoon tea with good friends. While outside it’s snowy and all I could see was variations on black and white, inside it was warm and buttery with pools of rich jewel-coloured jam, and Monday morning seemed a long way off.
As my first baking – and my first post – of the year I decided to experiment with a new way of making scones. After all, it’s good to push yourself just a little beyond your comfort zone…
I’ve been baking scones to the same essential recipe for 18 years so it was all very unsettling to try a recipe which uses honey and also included an egg. I read the recipe in Maureen Maxwell’s Bees Online Recipe Collection book and the version below is adapted from hers in the light of my experience. She says that including an egg increases the scone’s lifespan, but actually these came out rather drier than my favourite Prue Leith recipe, so I think that’s quite enough of dangerous January experimentation.
Nevertheless, we had crème fraiche and Bekim’s mum’s fabulous homemade jam from mountain raspberries, as well as some Romanian honey (you’ll have to wait for another post to hear about that) to slather over the scones, so it ended up being a rather delicious tea. And there were a few left this morning so we had scones for breakfast too, which made Monday morning seem pretty special as well.
3.5 cups plain flour
4.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.25 teaspoon salt
75g butter, melted
2 tbsp warmed honey
1 cup full-cream milk
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees centigrade. Sift the dry ingredients together and mix in the melted butter*. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the honey. Blend the milk and egg and pour into the well and mix the ingredients until a soft dough is formed.
Turn onto a floured board and form into shape – approximately 2.5cm thick. Cut out the scones and place on an oven tray. Glaze with milk and bake until the scones are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped (about 15 minutes).
For more recipes, honey tasting notes and the stories behind honey that changes lives, see my Little Book of Honey, just out and available for £6 + P&P from www.thelittlebookofhoney.co.uk.
*This is my innovation, fed up of all those ‘fine breadcrumbs’. Every muffin recipe I’ve ever made uses melted butter as a much more efficient way of combining butter and flour than the rubbing in. I haven’t yet found a reason why you shouldn’t use it for scone-making too. You see, not such a scone traditionalist after all. My scones are actually quite edgy and radical (but Prue Leith’s recipe is the best)