Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A Cream Tea

If there's one thing the West Country is known for, it's their cream teas. Although it is said to originate in Devon, there were many signs for cream teas in Padstow. Sadly, we didn't manage to have one ourselves; after a 6 mile walk round the headlands near where we stayed, we chanced upon a bed & breakfast advertising cream teas. When we roamed around the gardens, like a pack of 8 hungry wolves, a face appeared at the window. "No cream tea". And that was that.

So when I came back to London I had a scorchingly hot sunny day to while away and I decided to give making my own scones a whirl.

It was surprisingly easy. I'm not an expert baker by any means, but these were so simple I imagine I'll be making them again. Eaten warm from the oven, slathered in strawberry jam and clotted cream, I tried both the Cornish method (above) of jam first, then cream and the Devon method (below) - cream first, then jam. I am happy to report the Cornish way is preferred for me; sinking your teeth into the cream was ultimately satisfying. By the way, they're pronounced 's-cons' in this household.

Plain Scones (adapted from this recipe)

Serves 4

225 self raising flour

1/4 tsp salt

50gr butter, chilled and cut into cubes

25gr caster sugar

125ml full fat milk

The juice of half a small lemon

Extra flour for dusting

Strawberry jam & clotted cream

Preheat the oven to 220C. Add the flour to a mixing bowl and add the salt. Rub in the butter, lifting it as you go to aerate it until you get fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Make a well in the flour and add the milk with the lemon juice. Mix it lightly until it forms a soft and slightly sticky dough. Add more flour if it's too sticky to handle.

Flour your work surface and knead the dough a few times. If you're using a scone cutter, flour it well and cut into the dough but don't twist the cutter. It should make a satisfying "ummphh" sound. pat the dough back and cut another until you have four. Alternatively, an up-ended mug does the trick just as well, though you will have rather mammoth scones.

Dust a baking tray with some flour, brush the scones with a little milk and bake for 10 - 15 mins so that they're slightly browned and cooked through. Leave to cool down a little on a wire rack and then scoff 'em all.

This is best served with tea, but I found it also works well on a hot day with a gin and tonic.

27 comments:

Helen said...

Yeah! Scones! (I pronounce it the same way incidentially). The jam has to go on first, otherwise the jam just slides right off and is like the adult version of dropping your ice cream as a child.

kang said...

mmmm, i was at the Muffin Man last weekend for some tea and scones. Love clotted cream.

On the topic of clotted stuff, my mates from devon claim it to be Devon Cream. Mates from Cornwall say it is Cornish Cream.

What does hollowlegs say?

Katiecakes said...

God, I love a good cream tea! Lovely!

Katie xox

ginger@dinnerdiary.org said...

There is only one correct way to pronounce scones and I'm glad you've chosen it :)

Jam first for me too. Some people add butter too I think, not sure where that originates from.

pigpigscorner said...

I always have mine the Devon way don't ask me why. Will try both and see one day.

Su-Lin said...

I had no idea there was difference in the order cream and jam are applied in Cornwall and Devon. Me, I've always been partial to the Cornish method as it was easier to dab the cream on top of the jam rather than the other way around.

Jenny said...

I much prefer jam first, cream on top too. A cream tea is one of my favourite things of all time, although the first time I took my boyfriend for one he thought it was a cup of tea with cream in it...

The Ginger Gourmand said...

I'm glad you managed to satisfy your cream tea craving! Gorgeously decadent aren't they?! All that clotted cream...mmmm.

We agree on the pronunciation too - as did most people who commented on my similar post a couple of weeks back so we're clearly right!

Gourmet Chick said...

Great post Lizzie. I have tried so many different scone recipes and always have trouble getting them to rise to the heights that you see in cafes - yours look a similar height to mine so I wonder what the secret is for truly towering scones?

Lizzie said...

Helen - Luckily I've never had that trauma befall me. I'm always careful around my food stuffs!

Kang - I say the West Country...

Katiecakes - so easy to make too - I see many scones in my future.

Ginger - I think butter would be overkill, though I've not tried it.

Pigspig - I've noticed the Devon way is much rarer.

Su-Lin - I found it was much messier with the jam on top.

Jenny - Brilliant! I'm sure I probably thought the same.

GG - Your scones looked great too. Glad to hear I'm pronouncing it correctly!

GC - Mine seemed just like the ones I've had in cafes, albeit a bit misshapen but they were lighter. Perhaps cutting them from a taller mound of dough?

Anne said...

Ooh delicious, you can't beat scones with clotted cream and jam!

Boo said...

They looks delish, I've not made my own s-cons since I was little, but I did have Cornish style cream tea in Falmouth last summer, definitely the right way to eat it, with a nice pot of tea!

canelvr said...

I've never heard of the 'Cornish way', I'd only ever seen people putting the cream on top and thinking: 'You grockles obviously don't get this cream tea lark.' There's no butter because the cream is the butter. Cream blobbed on top of a cake is one thing, but a layer of 'butter' so decadent is what the cream tea is all about, I'm afraid. PS: I'm from Devon :)

Ollie said...

What could be more deliciously English? Good choice of jam too.

TheFastestIndian said...

Lemon juice eh, would never have guessed that would be part of the recipe. Presume you can't taste it though?
Have a real hankering for a cream tea now!

rich said...

You pronounce it correctly. Everybody in the North pronounces it like that, so it must be correct ****ducks for cover****

I prefer my scones slightly warm with nothing but butter. Lots of butter. Anything more is mere ostentation.

Lizzie said...

FastestIndian - The lemon juice is to activate the raising agent, it doesn't taste of lemon.

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

Yum! The husband and I were just discussing scones. He also said they're really easy to make. I'm just worried I'd eat them all in one go, with way too much clotted cream and jam...

TheFastestIndian said...

Ah ha- thanks! I think I might well give these go.

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cat said...

this is cool.. weirdly, in Australia we always called this Devonshire tea, never cream tea, but always the Cornish method.. haven't seen clotted cream here in 30 years... boo hoo

Lord & Lady Burbott said...

Dearest Schmoofaloof

We had the pleasure of stumbling across your food blog last weekend and would like to thank you for the pleasure it brought my wife and myself. We spend the morning in bed reading through your culinary exploits with nostalgia in our hearts (as ex Londoners) and haven’t had so much fun in years, We instantly decided to try some of your recipes, your scone recipe was the first thing that jumped out at us (well, actually it wasn’t but we looked for it under the baking tab) so we proceeded to make these ubiquitous little darlings and they turned out very well. We did not have any caster sugar so instead used some another type that was simply called raw sugar (maybe a cross between caster and brown) and that may have worked in our favour as I’m sure our scones tasted better than yours.

We would just like to add that we appreciate your un-biased and refreshing approach to food photography i.e. one scone with cream first and one with jam first.

My wife and I like to dabble in photography ourselves, particularly in the bedroom, and we felt that kitchen photography would be a good way of branching out from out chosen subject so proceeded to take photos and document our beautiful creations, we felt rather dejected once we found out there wasn’t anywhere to post them on your blog, perhaps this is something that you would consider adding? We have now vowed to follow a recipe of yours at least once a week in the hope of revitalising our relationship and will also be creating a scrapbook of our adventures and will be providing you with a copy for your comment. Hopefully you wouldn’t mind us calling you schmoof schmoof in future as we feel we could quite possibly have a blossoming friendship with you.

Once again thank you for the pleasure you have brought us,

We remain your humble admirers

Lord and Lady Burbott

mathildescuisine said...

What a success! Looks like you already have a lot of admirers for this what-must-be a delicious recipe!
Scones... it's a pity french people don't cook them in France, they don't know what they're missing!

Lizzie said...

Lord & Lady Burbott,

Many thanks for your kind words. I'm sure they would have been tastier with raw sugar; but was it able to melt properly without leaving a grainy texture?

I try to be as indiscriminatory as possible with food photography.

I'm afraid I don't have the technical skills to create such a forum for you to post your own creations. I can only suggest you start your own blog.

I eagerly await your scrapbook.

Schmoof Schmoof.

Chris said...

"I eagerly await your scrapbook."

I really hope you don't live to regret those words.

theundergroundrestaurant said...

Jealous! I want Lord and Lady Burbott to comment on my blog too....complete with formal introduction...

doesthebellyrulethemind said...

Back here in Devon we use Devon Jam. Those Cornish and their upside down ways. The Cloted Cream is good though, Roddas, not the other cheapo ones.