Said to be of Scottish origin these ‘quick breads’ started their days as unleavened oat cakes cooked on a griddle. More than 500 years later whether it be fruit, cheese or Singing Hinny there’s no denying that the humble scone is one of the most popular products on the menu at Cragside; infact they’re so important that they’re always our first job of the day.
In a typical year the kitchen team here make on average a staggering 40,000 fruit and cheese scones using almost one and a half tonnes of flour in the process!
Scones are both simple and inexpensive to make and with a small tweak of ingredients are just as at home on top of a stew as they are smothered in jam and clotted cream.
Despite their undeniable tastiness there is one small issue that always causes a stir and that’s the pronounciation of the word itself. Officially there is no right or wrong answer but if you’d like my opinion the word scone without doubt rhymes with gone and not cone.
Fruit Scones (makes approximately 12 scones)
500g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
75g butter or margarine cut into pieces
50g caster sugar
Clotted cream and jam to serve
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
Put the flour, baking powder, butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and rub the mixture between your thumb and fingers until you have a breadcrumb consistency, then add the sultanas.
Beat the egg and add to the milk. Pour the milk mixture (reserving a little for egg washing) into the dry ingredients and begin to bring the mix together. Mixing should be kept to a minimum as over handling at this stage can lead to a tight, chewy dough. A pallet knife is the ideal tool to mix the scone dough if you have one.
Tip the mixture out of the bowl onto a floured surface and gently knead together. Flour a rolling pin and roll out the mixture to approx 3 – 4cm thick. Cut out the scones and place onto a lined baking sheet.
Brush the egg and milk mixture on the top of the scones with a pastry brush and sprinkle over a little caster sugar to create a delicious sweet crust.
Put the scones into the middle of the oven and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown and well risen. If your not quite sure if the scones are cooked put one up next to your ear and if its still making a fizzing sound they’re not quite done. Cool then slice and spread with jam and clotted cream.
For delicious scones without the hard work and the dirty dishes pop into the tea rooms at Cragside, there’s always plenty.