Savory or sweet—scones are a treat
Since the British ritual of “afternoon tea” was created some 200 years ago—likely by the hungry and impatient Duchess of Bedford—the scone has since become the perfect complement to that mid-day cuppa brew. Not overly sweet, scones are a great “blank canvas” for jam or butter; these days, savory scones also make a great breakfast or snack for a wintery afternoon. You can enjoy many varieties of this treat on our England, Scotland & Wales or Ireland in Depth vacations.
Although traditional scones are round because they are “dropped” onto a baking sheet, this recipe is a winner because it’s easier for the home cook to cut eight wedges from a pizza-like ball of dough—and it’s also delicious, with just six ingredients. This family recipe comes from England, Scotland & Wales Program Director Deborah Farnham, who grew up in York. She serves the crumbly treat with piping-hot tea splashed with cream.
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
Optional Lemon Glaze:
2 Tbsp. of lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Cut the butter into small cubes and place in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
- Remove the butter from the freezer. Use your fingers to pinch the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue kneading the butter until the cubes are pea-sized—be careful not to over-mix.
- Add the cream to the bowl. Using a fork, mix the batter until it forms into a shaggy, flaky dough. If it seems too dry, add another splash of cream—again, be careful not to over-mix.
- Dump the dough on a floured surface and knead just until it comes together. Form it into a disc and cut into eight wedges—like a pie. Place the wedges on the cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden-brown.
- For the glaze, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon a dollop onto each scone and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about two hours. Serve with a spoonful of jam or clotted cream—or both.