I imagine that most bakers have their own favourite recipe for scones, and this is the one I base my scones on, altering it depending on what kind of scones I’m making. It comes from the small Be-Ro baking book my mum used a lot when I was growing up, and to my delight I found a copy of the same book in a second hand shop. Here’s the Be-Ro book atop my current favourite cookbook, The MacMillan Coffee Shop Recipe Book:
When I made spiced pear scones the other day (click here) the following recipe is more or less what I used. (Because I’ve made scones so often I’m afraid I don’t always accurately measure ingredients).
I use the rather old-fashioned imperial measures because it’s what I was brought up with, and since the numbers are smaller than measuring in grams, they’re more practical for my easily confused mind.
4 oz self raising white flour
4 oz self raising wholemeal flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
2 oz margarine (you could use butter instead, but I use Flora spread)
2 oz soft brown sugar (any sugar would do, I just fancied using the soft brown stuff, and I think it was 2 oz I used, although I usually only use 1 oz, but I thought it might need more with the pear in it, in any case they weren’t too sweet)
1 level teaspoon of mixed spice
1 level teaspoon of cinnamon
1 rounded teaspoon of nutmeg (I don’t honestly know how much spice I used, I just shook it in, but I think I used more nutmeg than anything else)
1 Conference pear, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into chunks
1 egg, beaten
A little milk (again, guessing here, but it may have been a tablespoon or two, it depends on how big the egg is and how wet the mixture is before you add the milk)
1. Set the oven at about 220 degrees Celsius (I used a fan oven at 220 and then turned it down to 210 after the first few minutes of baking so that my scones wouldn’t burn) with an oven shelf ready at the top of the oven.
2. Mix flours and baking powder in a bowl, rub in margarine (you could use an electric mixer for this job but I always do it by hand because I find it quite therapeutic).
3. Add sugar, spices and chopped pear to flour mixture and mix well.
4. Add most of the beaten egg (keeping just a little aside to paint onto the scones before baking – this gives the scones a nice shiny glaze) and enough milk to make as wet a mixture as you can handle without it sticking to your hands and the rolling pin.
5. Spread the area you’re going to roll the scone mixture out on with a bit of flour (I have a flour shaker filled with plain white flour, but you could use self raising, it really doesn’t matter).
6. Divide the dough into two and, handling lightly, roll out each blob into a round about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick (this was a bit of a squishy job for me because my pear chunks were quite large).
7. Cut each of the rounds into quarters (you could just mark the round and cook it all as one, dividing the scones once cooked which would make for more triangular scones, or you could press each scone out using scone cutters, which is what I normally do) and put onto a baking tray.
8. Brush the top of each scone with the beaten egg using a pastry brush (I have occasionally smeared egg on with my fingers if I haven’t had a brush to hand) and bake at the top of the oven for 11 minutes (it could be 10, it could be 12, but I generally do it for 11 because I’ve found that this is what works with my oven).
The picture below shows how mine turned out. I did open the oven door quickly after about 7 minutes and turned the oven tray round but that’s only because my oven doesn’t cook evenly, you shouldn’t have to do that.
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