The Fastest Cake In the West
What is the fastest cake in the West? Answer: S’gone! This joke is described in an excellent article on the scone, which also discusses the cream tea. The cream tea is a meal traditionally eaten in the West Country (meaning southwest England: Cornwall, Devon and Sommerset) mainly by tourists (a.k.a grockles). It involves drinking hot black tea with plain scones topped by clotted cream and jam. I know in the US you can buy double Devon cream from Giant and World Market, though its more authentic to use clotted cream which has an even higher fat content. You can supposedly make your own clotted cream by scalding cream by gently heating it for a long time.
As for the recipe I use for scones, it comes from the book Biscuits and Scones by Elizabeth Alston (Amz), which I bought at the Epcot Center and which led to my getting back into baking. I usually make 2 batches of scones at a time.
2 1/2 cups-flour
1 tb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz butter
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
Put the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and mix. Cut in the butter. I have a good pastry blender for this. Its blunt blades cut even cold butter easily, much better than the hoops of my old one. If you don’t have a pastry blender then cut up the butter into pieces, add to the flour, cut up more with a knife and then rub into the flour using your fingertips. The recipes usually say to do this until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, which apparently look like this. I would say that you should keep going at least until the biggest pieces are about the size of a small pea, though I don’t think it particularly matters.
Add the sugar and toss the mixture to mix. Add the milk and mix with a fork or something and press together into a dough. If its too dry add more milk, if it’s too sticky add more flour.
Kneed the dough about 10 times to mix. Roll out. Sprinkle flour as needed to prevent the dough sticking. Cut out using circular cutters. I use a non-burn baking tray with an air section.
Cook in the oven for about 12 minutes.
Enjoy with your favourite toppings. In addition to the clotted cream and jam, I also like lemon curd.