June 12, 2014

Classic British Scones with Currants

This week is all about classic British food! Which, of course, is my favorite thing ever in the whole world. The most classic English tea-time cake I could find, British-style scones, and crumpets!! Do you even know what crumpets are?? They're so fun, I can't wait to show you!

My house is being ripped to pieces all around me while two lovely gentlemen replace our bay window and install French doors in the back. They. Are. GORGEOUS. When they're all done, I'll show you the final reveal! Until then, Scones!! Which, of course, make everything better. :)

I've eaten scones for as long as I can remember. They're one of my favorite things to bake! It wasn't until a few years ago that I truly learned the difference between British and American scones. American scones are more dense, lots sweeter, usually have some kind of sugar or glaze on top, and can be kinda awful if done wrong, turning them into sugary doorstops. British scones are lighter, softer, barely sweet, and much simpler. You don't usually find tons of chocolate chips and fruits packed into them. British scones are made much simpler because they're designed to be spread with butter, clotted cream, and jam. Now, I'm not bashing American scones! I love them!! And I love my add-ins!! Both favorites! The first time I ever tried a truly British scone was at a tiny Scottish restaurant on the way to Virginia Beach. We wanted fish and chips, (which were awesome) but started with scones, clotted cream, and jam. It was also the first time I ever tasted clotted cream, and oh MAN, that stuff is heaven!! I was head over heels in love. Forget the fish and chips, I wanted four more orders of scones and jam!

It's about time I make some for myself, right?? And you guys!
Classic British Scones with Currants (adapted slightly from Cooks Illustrated)
Printable Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tb unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
2/3 cup dried currants (or raisins, sultanas, dried cranberries or blueberries...)
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor and pulse a few times until combined. Add butter and pulse until fully incorporated and mixture looks like very fine crumbs with no larger chunks. Transfer mixture to large bowl and stir in currants. (You can also do this without a food processor. Cut the butter in by hand, with a pastry cutter or two knives until there are no chunks left larger than small peas, then transfer the mixture to a mixer with the whisk attachment, and mix until the small chunks are broken up and the mixture looks like fine crumbs.)

Whisk milk and eggs together in second bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of  this mixture and set aside. Add remaining liquid ingredients to flour and butter and fold together until almost no dry bits of flour remain.

Transfer dough to a floured work surface and gather into a ball. (This dough will be sticky, so flour your hands!) Knead dough until surface is smooth no longer cracking. Gently form/roll into a disk, about 9 inches across and an inch thick. Use a floured 2 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out 8 round, making sure not to twist the cutter, only pressing straight down and pulling straight back up. (This keeps the scones from falling over while baking) Arrange scones on prepared sheet. Knead the scraps back together a few times. Roll dough back out to 1-inch thickness cut as many rounds as will fit. Repeat one more time with remaining scraps.

Brush tops of scones with the reserved milk mixture and place in the oven. Immediately reduce temperature to 425 degrees and bake until risen and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer scones to wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve scones warm or at room temperature.
Ah, perfect!! Just like I remember!! You've got to serve these with butter and jam at the very least, but if you can find clotted cream, you are in for a real treat!
They bake up tall and fluffy, with a lovely light, soft texture accented with a bit of a crunch from the golden brown top and little bites of sweetness from the currants. Barely sweet, not too much to clash with the jam, just rich enough to pair with the cream, these scones are heavenly!
In fact, as I'm writing this up... I think I need another batch...

12 comments :

  1. I have never had classic British food but seeing these pictures and reading the descriptions has me highly intrigued :-)

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  2. Beautiful looking scones April! Well done YOU! Can't wait for the big reveal of the doors! I Love French Doors!

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    1. *Bows* Coming from you, that's a major compliment, thank you! I can't wait to show you the reveal :)

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  3. Yummy! Wish I had one! Thanks for the récipe and enjoy your weekend ahead.
    FABBY

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  4. You've done a wonderful job creating these lovely scones April!
    Mary

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    1. Thank you Mary! Hope you had (or are having) a lovely visit back "across the pond". :)
      ~April

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  5. I'm British and have never had scones made with currants! Sultanas or raisins, yes, never currants. Can I also ask if this recipe is adjusted for altitude or if you found it doesn't need altering?

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    1. I've never had them with currants either! The original recipe (that I tweaked a bit) was from Cooks Illustrated, and sometimes they tend to be a bit overly fancy. :) Of course you could use raisins or sultanas instead, dried cranberries or blueberries, anything really! This recipe worked just fine as-is at high altitude. Thank you for your comment!!

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    2. In fact, I remembered that when I went to visit the UK, I never saw a single currant scone. So I went back and edited the post. Silly Cooks Illustrated. Thank you again!

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  6. Wow! Thank you for such a speedy response :) Have you tried cheese scones? Basically you just replace the dried fruit with the same weight of grated cheddar cheese and leave out the sugar. Yum!

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    1. I haven't tried savory scones yet, but I have a few on my list! I love adding cheese to my biscuits (the American version 😊)

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