Films, literature, a walk through York or London and even browsing wikipedia will make you believe that us Brits drop everything mid-afternoon and eat Afternoon Tea or Cream Tea. Trust me, I don’t know a single person who regularly eats Cream Tea, I bet even the Queen doesn’t. However, with the current trend of getting back to the good, simple things in life; the comforting cream tea is making a come back. Hurrah!
Traditionally Cream Tea consists of scones slathered in jam and tea accompanied with a cup of tea. There is a big dispute amongst Cream Tea purists as to which order the jam and cream should be put on the scone. I believe a thick layer of raspberry or strawberry jam followed buy a dollop of clotted cream from the local dairy makes the perfect Cream tea. The other way is to put the cream on first then the jam, known as the Devonshire Cream Tea.
A few months back Hubby’s Grandma gave me a old cookbook of hers. The cover is missing and it’s full of interesting notes and recipes. I think it’s Good Housekeeping – The Home Book dating from the mid 1920’s, essentially all about how to be a good housewife. Although some of the tips and recipes you won’t get my trying in a million years (braised calf head anyone?) there are lots of articles that ring true today in 2008. Eating in season, cleaning without chemicals, reducing waste.
The first and last time I made scones was about 15 years ago in Home Economics. My scones then were not very successful and tasted dry and bitter. Today I decided to give them another go and using one of grandma’s recipes. One problem with old recipes is that they can be a bit vague with temperatures. My usual rule of “if in doubt bake at 200oc” worked well. Apart from me being a bit overenthusiastic when rolling out the dough, they turned out perfect and light. If you want you can replace the bicarb and cream of tartar with 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder.
Mixed Fruit Scones
Makes 12 small scones
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
25g caster sugar
pinch of salt
50g mixed fruit
1/4 pint of milk
1 egg, beaten
1) Sieve the flour, salt, bicarb and cream of tartar into a basin. Rub in the butter, add the sugar and mixed fruit. Gradually stir in milk until you have a smooth dough.
2) Turn out onto a floured surface and roll until about 2cm thick. Cut into rounds and place on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Brush the top of each scone with beaten egg. Bake at 200oc until golden and firm. Cool on a wire rack.