Tuesday, January 26, 2010
When I lived in England, I was able to get my hands on freshly baked scones every day. Every grocery store carried several versions and there was always a local cafe or tea shop that baked them fresh. Since moving back to the US, I have been testing out various versions and while all of them have been pretty good, this particular recipe turned out so very tall and fluffy and light; the best I have tasted by a mile.
Oddly enough, the recipe isn't even a version from the UK, but rather is a variety made popular in Australia. The basic recipe is really quite simple - just a mix of self-rising flour, full fat cream, and some fizzy lemon-lime soda (called lemonade in the UK and Australia). I am certain that American or Canadian style ginger ale would also work out beautifully, but don't use ordinary non-fizzy lemonade. The carbonation is what gives these scones their lovely light texture and lift. However, don't expect these to taste lemony - the soda is there mainly as a raising agent, not for much flavor. I am happy to report that diet Sprite worked out just fine. You do need the real deal for the cream though - no low-fat substitutions will do, as the fat is absolutely required for the recipe to work. You will note there is otherwise no butter or oil in the recipe, so the cream is quite crucial. Sorry to all the dieters who got excited over the diet-soda-is-ok bit.
Some versions add a bit of sugar, I did not. I didn't feel it was necessary at all in the final product. This type of scone is meant to be split and served with some jam and clotted cream or some whipped cream, so there really is no need to add sugar to the dough itself. I personally like mine with a bit of butter and jam, and that is all.
Australian Style Scones (aka Lemonade Scones)
(makes about 8-10 round scones)
4-4 1/2 cups self-rising flour (I used White Lily brand)
1 cup heavy cream (or double cream or whipping cream)
1 cup lemon-lime soda (fizzy lemonade) such as Sprite, 7-Up, or ginger ale
1-2 Tbsp milk, to brush on top (optional)
to serve: jam, lemon curd, butter, clotted cream or whipped cream
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Sift 3 1/2 cups of the self-rising flour into a large bowl, then stir in the soda and the cream until combined. The mixture will be quite wet at this point. Do not over mix the dough. If it forms a ball, then you can now dump it onto a floured surface, sprinkle with a bit more of the flour, and knead gently for just long enough for it to start to smooth out - seriously only a minute or two. If you knead too long, not only will you overwork the gluten in the flour, but the moisture will start to saturate the dough, making it too wet again.
You may need to keep adding more flour as this dough will be quite moist - but do not add more than 4 1/2 cups total to the entire recipe. Your humidity on the day you make this will affect how much or how little you actually will need. This time, I needed 4 cups total.
Pat the dough out into a large oval shape - it should be quite thick, perhaps 1/2"-1" tall. Using a floured drinking glass, punch out rounds of dough. You will hear a squooshing sound as you push the glass into the puffy dough. Do your best to not twist the glass when you remove it - just lift it.
Yes, the dough shapes will look a bit lumpy, shaggy and wet. You will be staring at them and thinking something surely must be wrong here! Everything is normal.
Place the rounds onto a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving space between each. If you like a brown looking top, then lightly brush each with some milk or cream before baking. I did not do this. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until they are puffed up tall and the bottoms are just slightly browned. Yes, they will appear quite pale and might at first glance seem underdone, especially if you skipped the milk brushing step. If you keep baking them until they are brown, they will be tough as hard tack when you bite into them, so please do not over bake them!
If you split one open, the insides should be light, fluffy, tender and there should be no wet/raw spots. The outside should be slightly crisp. Split them open, spread with butter, cream of your choice, and jam, as desired.
NOTE: Measurements given are in volume not weight, using American measuring cups.
at 11:21 AM Posted by Heatherfeather