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Unless eaten freshly baked, scones can often be dry, hard, and almost always need something to ‘jazz them up’ a bit; clotted cream and jam, melted butter, cheese. I find even the look of shop-bought scones unappetising; you know they will just stick to the roof of your mouth.
Indeed, there are lots of reasons not to make scones; the repeated rolling, cutting and re-rolling of the dough (one of my baking pet-hates); the quantities made are usually large and unless you are having a big gathering, many scones may go to waste as they are best eaten warm, or at best, on the day they are made.
So, having done some research and learning that none of these baking pitfalls are insurmountable, I am offering up these scones for some consideration.
Earlier in the year I treated myself to Sebastien Rouxel’s ‘Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery’ book. It is a stunning recipe book, both visually and content wise. It has bakes that the novice baker can get to grips with but also stretches those looking to improve their already competent skills. Indeed, it is beautiful book worthy of a place on anyone’s coffee table (as well as the recipe book shelf in the kitchen).
I have adapted this recipe from one of their scone recipes and believe the method solves some of our scone baking ‘issues’.
Firstly, the dough is not rolled repeatedly. It is placed in a food wrap lined baking tray ( I used a Brownie tin, approximately 22cm x 30cm). It is then chilled. Once firm, cut into shapes. Then you only bake the number of scones you want to bake/eat for a particular occasion. You can freeze the remainder of the ready cut scones and use them as and when. You will only need to brush with milk, or cream and sprinkle with cheese prior to baking and bake, from frozen, for a few additional minutes.
This method is wonderful. There is no rolling, no wastage and freshly baked scones available whenever the need arises. I see no reason why you couldn’t use this for other flavoured scone recipes.
So when would you eat these scones? These Blue Cheese and Spring Onion scones are packed with flavour and incredibly light in texture. I have used a local Surrey blue cheese – Norbury Blue – but you could use any blue cheese or other cheese you have in the fridge. I think these scones work well at brunch, or lunch time, either with bacon, crispy pastrami or procuitto, or even a salad. At tea time they are divine just with melted butter.
This method sounds long winded but it really isn’t. A bit of time invested ‘upfront’ with this bake will give you a number of fresh bakes as and when you want them.
Here is the method in a bit more visual detail…
Put the combined scone ingredients into a tin (in this case measuring approximately 22cm x 30cm) which is lined with food wrap. With the back of the spoon, spread the dough evenly throughout the tin ensuring it goes into all the corner and its fairly level overall.
Place the scones that you plan on freezing into a plastic airtight container, layering with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking. Store in the freezer. Bake straight from the freezer when you want to bake and eat these.
For the scones that are ready to be baked, place on a lined baking tray. Brush with cream or milk and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- 450g plain flour
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 200g butter
- 100g double cream
- 140g crème fraiche
- 80g spring onions, chopped (a bit less than a bunch)
- 150g blue cheese
- 10g chives, chopped
- cream, or milk for brushing
- Cheddar cheese, grated, for sprinkling (if baking the whole batch at once, you will need 100g)
- Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in the bowl of a freestanding mixer. Combine.
- Add the cubed butter and mix slowly until well combined with the dry mixture.
- With the mixer still on low speed, add the double cream followed by the crème fraiche. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Release the bowl from the mixer base and fold in the spring onions, crumbled blue cheese and the chives. Ensure that the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Pour the dough mixture into the tin lined with food wrap. With the back of a spoon, push the dough to the sides and level the dough, so forming a 'block'. Cover with food wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for up to two hours, or until firm.
- Once firm, unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Cut the scones into equal portions, either triangles or squares.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or Gas Mark 4.
- Place the scones on a baking tray lined with parchment. Brush the scones with some remaining cream, or milk and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.
- Best eaten the day of baking.
- If you are freezing some of your scones, it is possible to bake them straight from the freezer. Place on prepared baking tray, brush with cream or milk and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for a further 3-5 minutes in addition to the original 25-30 minutes.
Source: Adapted from Sebastien Rouxel’s ‘Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery’