Scones single

Back in May, when I hastily entered the baking competition at the upcoming Royal Show (aka, The Ekka), I did not expect the time to roll around so quickly.  (Not sure why?  It always does….)  In just a few short weeks, I need to front up at the RNA Showgrounds and present my goodies.

One entry is in the ‘scone’ category.  Interestingly, I selected that category even though I do not often make scones.  The last time was back in January (pumpkin scones to celebrate Australia Day).  So with limited practise under my belt, I reached for my trusty Belinda Jeffery baking book – and to the Lemonade Scones recipe that I knew worked well.  Around the same time, I read Y’s post for sarsaparilla scones (using the same basic recipe) and knew this would be the version I use for my entry.

I am quite partial to scones recipes that incorporate cream to replace butter and milk.  As I am fairly heavy-handed, the cream allows me to mix the dough more quickly with less risk to over-working – the #1 hurdle to making light, fluffy scones.  The recipe uses a blend of plain and wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour.  I may incorporate only plain flour for my entry.  The wholemeal flour introduces a different texture, crumb, taste and finish that may not be what the judges are looking for.  Though do not get me wrong, they are still delicious with that plain/wholemeal flour combination.

The scones are light (thanks to the lemonade), and take on a nutty flavour (from the wholemeal flour), and with the addition of fruit, you may be fooled into thinking you are eating something moderately healthy – just ignore the cream quotient!

If you are creative like Y @ Lemonpi, try your own flavour soft drink (soda) or stick with Belinda’s classic formula.  You will not be disappointed.  Perfect with a lovely cup of tea!  Very British.

Lemonade scones set

{ Lemonade Scones }
Recipe by Belinda Jeffery

* Ingredients *
2 1/2 cups or 375g self-raising flour
1 cup or 160g wholemeal self-raising flour
1/3 cup or 75g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g dried fruit
1 cup or 250ml cream
1 cup or 250ml lemonade

* Directions  *
Preheat oven to 200C or 390F.   Combine both flour, sugar, salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the cream and lemonade.  Stir everything together with a wooden spoon and then use your hands to bring the dough together.  Tip out onto a floured surface. Pat the dough out to a 5cm / 2 inch thickness, and use a scone cutter to stamp out the scones.  Brush tops with milk or cream and bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Makes 18

pumpkin-scones4Scones are the quintessential afternoon tea.  They are the perfect level of sweetness for an afternoon (or morning!) pick-me-up.  Scones come in a variety of flavours – plain, sweet or savoury – and all are delicious.  You will find many recipes for sultana/raisin scones, cheese scones, herb scones and plain scones.  But if you come across a recipe for pumpkin scones, it is likely to be courtesy of one lady.  Lady Flo.

Scones originated in Scotland and are pronounced “Skoan” in southern parts of England, and “Skon” in northern part of Britain (northern England and Scotland).  I think the latter pronunciation is more popular in Australia, though I buck the trend learning the pronunciation from parents who heralded from London.

Even though Australia cannot lay claim to the scone, the pumpkin variant is firmly cemented in our culinary repertoire.  Pumpkin scones were popularised by Florence Bjelke-Petersen – wife of former Queensland Premier and later Queenslander Senator. 

Scones are a very quick baked treat to make.  They are light, flaky and creamy, and if not over-handled, will melt in your mouth!  So in honour of Australia Day, I bring you pumpkin scones. 

{  Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen’s Famous Pumpkin Scones  }

* Ingredients *

1 Tblsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed pumpkin (cold)
2 cups Self raising flour

* Directions *

pumpkin-scones-on-board

pumpkin-scones-transferpumpkin-scones-on-tray

 

 

                    

 

Beat together butter, sugar and salt with electric mixer.  Add egg, then pumpkin and stir in the flour.  Turn on to floured board.  (Use a marble pastry board if possible to keep the dough cool.)  Gently pat the dough into a mound and cut out desired shapes (e.g. circles or squares).  Place on a baking tray in a very hot oven 225-250c (435-480F) for 15-20 minutes.

{ A few tips … }

1. Australian celebrity cooks such as Belinda Alexander also pay tribute to the scone.  Belinda has a variation of the pumpkin scone with the addition of sweet dates – it is a delicious combination.
2. Consider a pumpkin scone variation with spices such as ginger or cinnamon – they beautifully enhance the pumpkin flavour. 
3. Flo’s secret – cook the pumpkin the night before and chill it in the fridge.