These scones are my mother’s recipe, which I introduced to a wider audience in my first “Simply Delicious” TV series. I thought this would be a useful recipe to teach the clergy in the special course I ran for them, since it is simple and quick, but also makes a large amount, so they could freeze leftovers and reheat them quickly in the oven for visiting parishioners.
When my mother made these for us as children, they were always tender and delicious—but adding a few golden raisins was as adventurous as we got. These days, we teach numerous twists on the original (see below).
Makes 18–20 scones
71/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 heaping teaspoons baking powder
12 tablespoons butter
3 organic eggs
2 cups milk
To glaze eggwash, made by whisking 1 organic egg with a pinch of salt granulated sugar, for the topping.
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large, wide bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour, and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles very coarse bread crumbs—surprisingly, this results in lighter scones. Make a well in the center. Whisk the eggs with the milk in a pitcher. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board. Don’t knead but shape just enough to make a round. Roll out to 1in thick and cut or stamp into scones. Stamp out the scones with as little waste as possible; the first scones will be lighter than the second rolling. If you cut them into squares or triangles with a knife or pastry cutter, as my mother did, there is no need to roll again.
Transfer the scones to a baking sheet—there is no need to grease it. Brush the tops with the eggwash and dip each one in granulated sugar. Bake in the hot oven for 10–12 minutes, until golden brown on top.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve split in half with homemade jam and a dollop of whipped cream, or with just butter and jam.
Golden Raisin Scones
Add 3/4 cup plump golden raisins to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.
Muscatel Raisin and Rosemary Scones
Add 3/4 cup Muscatel raisins and 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.
Add 1 cup quartered candied or dried cherries to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.
Crystallized Ginger Scones
Add 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (or drained and chopped stem ginger) to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.
Candied Citrus Peel Scones
Add 3/4 cup candied orange and lemon peel to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in. Coat the citrus peel well in the flour before adding the liquid to stop it from sticking together.
Sugar and Spice Scones
Add 4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to the basic mixture with the flour. Instead of dipping the glazed scones in granulated sugar, use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar.
Poppy Seed Scones
Add 1/4 cup poppy seeds to the dry ingredients.
Serve with freshly crushed strawberries and whipped cream.
Chocolate Chip Scones
Chop 4oz best-quality chocolate and add to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.
Strawberry, Raspberry, or Blueberry Scones
Add 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (or whole raspberries or blueberries) to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.
Increase the sugar by 2 tablespoons.
White Chocolate and Raspberry Scones
Add 3/4 cup fresh raspberries and 3oz chopped white chocolate to the basic mixture after the sugar has been rubbed in.