The secret to good scones is not to handle them too much before baking,
and to make the mixture on the wet, sticky side.
Makes 8–10 large (9cm/3½in) scones or 20 smaller ones
Cake tins needed:
2 baking sheets
450g (1lb) self-raising flour
2 rounded tsp baking powder
75g (3oz) butter, at room temperature
50g (2oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs
about 225ml (8fl oz) milk
clotted cream or pouring double cream, whipped
Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/gas 7. Lightly
grease the baking sheets.
Put the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture
resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Beat the eggs
together and make up to a generous 300ml (½ pint) with the
milk, then put about two tablespoons of the mixture aside in a
cup for glazing the scones later. Gradually add the egg mixture
to the dry ingredients, stirring it in until you have a soft dough. It
is far better that the scone mixture is on the wet side, sticking to
your fingers, as the scones will rise better.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface
and flatten it with your hand or a rolling pin to a thickness of
1–2cm (½–1in). Use a 5cm (2in) fluted cutter to stamp out the
scones by pushing the cutter straight down into the dough (as
opposed to twisting it), then lifting it straight out. This ensures
that the scones will rise evenly and keep their shape. Gently
push the remaining dough together, knead very lightly then reroll
and cut out more scones in the same way.
Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheets
and brush the tops with the reserved beaten egg mixture to
glaze. Bake for 10–15 minutes, until well risen and golden, then
transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool, covered with a clean tea
towel to keep them moist. Serve as fresh as possible, cut in half
and spread generously with strawberry jam. Top with a good
spoonful of thick cream as well, if you like.
Either eat the scones on the day of making or leave them to
cool completely and then freeze. If time allows, thaw them at
room temperature for a couple of hours and then refresh in a
moderate oven for about 10 minutes.