When I was growing up a scone was a rather large item (it was in Yorkshire) stuffed with currants and even a little cherry. I hadn’t even realised that scones could be fruitless until I visited Devon for the first time and had a cream tea. As someone with a savoury tooth I found it an abomination and to this day I can’t enjoy the clotted cream and jam. A beautiful fresh, slightly warm, plain scone is a wonderful thing however.
The true king of scones though is the Cheese Scone. As long as it tastes clearly of cheese I am happy but I’ve tasted a few bad ones along the way. The common mistake is to underdo the cheese or go with some really tasteless cheddar. I’ve had some which could easily pass for plain scones! Another is to overdo the spice. Some recipes go for adding some heat with cayenne pepper and overdoing this can make them inedible.
This weekend I made some of my own following a basic cheese scone recipe of Delia Smith’s. It starts with sifting some wholemeal flour, some self-raising flour, mustard powder, salt and some cayenne pepper. I also added a few strips-worth of thyme. The amount of baking powder depends on your choice of flour in the first place. The next stage is to crumb the flour mix with the butter at room temperature. This is the stage that I don’t really understand the value off sifting flour in the first place.
The cheese is mixed in next and I have two tips. Parmesan is a great way of adding some serious cheese flavour as a substitute for some of the bland cheddar. The second is to grate the cheese finely.
I mixed two eggs with four teaspoons of milk and then added this to the mixture and thoroughly mixed it to a smooth dough which would roll easily and picked the bowl clean. All that was left was to brush the tops with milk and then add a sprinkle of leftover grated cheese to the top of each.
Bake for 15-20 minutes dependent on size and then cool on a rack until patience runs out and then enjoy with butter. Nom nom!