Be it cheese, treacle, pumpkin (thanks Lady Flo) fruit or plain – these fluffy, flaky numbers are irresistible with some butter and a cuppa. If you’re scone-seeking in America remember to order a ‘biscuit’ . And if you’re enjoying a full Scottish breakfast you’ll find your buttered tattie scone alongside your haggis.
Dating back to the early 1500s, the original scone was made with oats, triangular-shaped and griddle-baked. Today’s versions are generally flour-based and baked in the oven.
The name ‘scone’ is still disputed, so let’s run with the origins being in the Gaelic term “sgonn” meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful.
Makes about 12
For scones of a standard you could enter at the local Show, make sure your ingredients and equipment are chilled. Try and handle the dough as little as possible – it does does not need to be super smooth, and cook the scones on the top shelf of the oven where it’s hottest.
3 1/2 cups SR flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
90g cold butter, cubed or grated
250g cold dates, roughly chopped (depending on how you prefer your dried fruit in baked goods)
1 1/4 cups cold buttermilk*
Preheat oven to 200*C. Grease a 18cm x 18cm x 5cm deep square baking tray.
Combine flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix through dates.
Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in buttermilk. Gently combine mixture, and bring together in a dough. Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.
Lightly flour a work space. Add dough and flatten to circle about 3cm thick. Using a 6cm round cookie cutter, dipped in flour to ensure ease of removing dough cut outs,
Alternatively, you can make square or triangular scones – flatten dough into a square shape 3cm thick. Cut into desired shape.
Place scones tightly together (so you get the puff up and pull apart effect) in the prepared tray, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden.
Serve steaming hot with butter or cream and jam, and mandatory cup of tea or coffee.
*You can also make buttermilk if you don’t have access to any – add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar per 1 cup milk, whisk and set aside for 10 minutes to curdle.