Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Just what exactly is a Scone?
I have many people ask me what scones are, and to be honest until I moved to England I too had no idea what these thing were. The only way I know to describe them is for you to think of your favorite muffin crossed with a sugar cookie, and shaped like a biscuit. That’s a scone, and they sure are tasty!!!! Scones are traditionally served with tea, but you can find them in most coffee shops these days. While I discuss scones I should probably mention tea for a moment, and so I will following the recipe.*
Lemon Poppyseed Scones
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare baking sheet with Butter, and flour, or use a silicone mat to prevent scones from sticking.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until particles are the size of small peas. In a medium bowl, beat (1) one egg lightly with lemon juice and lemon zest. Add to flour mixture; stir just until mixed.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently. Pat or roll out the dough into a circle 1/2-inch thick. Using a lightly greased and floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut into scones, Dip cutter into flour as often as necessary to keep dough from sticking. Space 2-inches apart onto silicone mat lined baking sheet*.
In a small bowl, combine 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk; brush onto top of scones. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve hot with Lemon Curd, or Clotted Cream.
* Most people refer to afternoon tea as high tea because they think they sound refined, or well schooled when in all actuality, high tea served across the pond is what we call dinner in America. “Tea time” in England tends to be a heavier meal just as we serve here. Most people want to offer a selection of fancy pastries( Petite Fours)and cakes on fine china when they offer a "high tea." This type of service should be called “Light Tea”.
Traditional afternoon tea is also called "low tea" because it is normally taken in a living room type setting with low tables (like a coffee table) and people can socialize in a less formal environment.
There are three basic types of Afternoon, or Low Tea:
Cream tea - Tea, scones, jam and cream
Light Tea - Tea, scones and petite fours
Full Tea - Tea, savory items (appetizers or tiny sandwiches), scones, petite fours and dessert such as whole cakes