7 years ago, I stepped into this really cold and unfamiliar place, our practical kitchen in Le Cordon Bleu. It’s winter when my first class started, and we call it the freezing dungeon because it’s super cold in the winter. It’s perfect for making chocolates tho but it’s was just the very first few lessons to get our head around the fact that… Hey this is a kitchen, not a classroom.
And, I think scones were among the few early things we made in class.
To think cafes and restaurants serving afternoon high tea are mushrooming around Klang Valley, you’d expect to see some nice scones. But I haven’t had some really nice scones for a while now. (Someone mentioned those in Cameron Highlands are really good ??) Hrmm.. Well, I think scones needs to be eaten fresh from the oven. The method is similar to making a pie crust or shortcrust, but the ratio of ingredients are different. So the more you handle it, the tougher it becomes.
This however is not a scones recipe from LCB. I would think that technique in making scones are very crucial, because the results of over-kneading is unforgiving. Immediately, you get this hard and dry scones. Ok la I don’t wanna exaggerate o much, the recipe plays an important roles as well.
And while I don’t think these are the world’s best scones, I would think they are decent enough to savour (ok actually much better than alot of places. It’s homemade, and fresh out from the oven!!, how can it not taste good!)
1. Use cold butter when rubbing into the flour. This will ensure all fat particles are coated with a layer of flour, thus when mixed with the wet ingredients later, it doesn’t curdle (fat + water = don’t mix, but fat coated with flour + water = mix better)
I freeze the butter and flour mixture while I measure the rest of the ingredients. That way, it’s nice and chilled and the butter stays cold. Use your fingers or a pastry tool, whichever could make your life easier.
2. And use more than just milk. Say, sour cream, buttermilk, milk + lemon juice, yogurt.. It would work better than just milk as it gives it more mass and fluff than just regular milk.
3. Well, the trick is, really, don’t overknead! or over handle it. Once you add the wet ingredients in, a couple of rounds of mixing with the fork is good enough. The idea is that it’s not meant to be smooth. I just dust the board with flour, pour the dough on it, then dust with more flour, and press it flat with my fingers (No rolling pin needed) Of course if you are working with a large amount, you would need one tho.
Top : Raisin Scones. Bottom : Garlic & Chives scones
The dough thickness was only about 1/2 inch. Feel free to get it to a proper 1″ tall scones, or whichever you prefer. Just mind the baking time and check for doneness for you don’t wanna bite into a raw scone :/
- 360g self raising flour
- 175g butter, cubed and cold
- 1 egg
- 30g caster sugar (if making savoury, reduce to 15g)
- 50ml cold milk
- 125g sour cream
- pinch of salt
- more flour for dusting
- egg for egg wash
- Optional : 120g raisins / chopped chives and garlic powder / 120g crumbled feta cheese
- Sift flour into a bowl. Rub the butter in so it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
- Lightly whisk egg, milk, sour cream, sugar and salt in a bowl.
- Pour wet ingredients into the flour. Stir with a fork till it's just combined.
- *Add in any optional ingredients if you wish now
- Dust surface with flour, pour 'dough' out. Dust top with more flour.
- Lightly press flat with fingers to a ½" or 1" height.
- Use a 2" or 2¼" round biscuit cutter to cut. Any access dough, combine it (Do not knead) and repeat step 6-7.
- Brush the top with egg. Bake at 190 C for 12-15 minutes.
- Best eaten warm (right after baking :P)
I’ve simplified the recipe to a basic scones recipe. Feel free to add in any raisins, dried fruits. To make it savoury, add in chives, garlic powder, or feta cheese, maybe sprinkle paprika powder and black pepper on top. Shredded cheddar cheese and rosemary would work too! Be creative!