These Victorian Scones are a great treat at tea time, (once served at 4 pm sharp) and quintessentially English. There are fruit scone recipes, and drop scone recipes etc. but this is the traditionalVictorian tea-time scone which has a wafer-thin crisp exterior and an interior with a fine bread-like crumb. Cut in half the scone is usually served with butter or clotted cream and some home-made Strawberry Jam or Raspberry Jam.
To reach the desired consistency to make the perfect scones it is best if all the ingredients are cold to begin with, and to add the liquid to the dry ingredients all at once, mixing everything together quickly and lightly. A good scone is measured on how much it rises, because they are cut in half after baking to eat, so height is essential here. What we are looking for are the scones to go into the oven at around 3cm in height and to come out to 6cm in height. There is no need to go looking for scones over 7cm in height, this unbalances them when they rise, we are looking for scones which rise straight up and are easy to cut in half (and around 3cm per half is perfect).
Victorian Scone Recipe
makes around 6 scones
- 300g plain flour
- 150ml milk (whole fat)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cream of tarter
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 60g butter
- 30g caster sugar
- clotted cream or butter
- your favourite fruit jam (Jam In 20 Minutes)
Heat the oven to 220C (430F)
Lightly grease a flat baking tray.
Sift the flour, then scatter in the salt, cream of tarter and baking powder. Rub in the butter with your fingertips to make fine ‘breadcrumbs’. Stir in the sugar, make a well in the centre and finally pour the milk in, all in one go, mixing with a wooden spoon to get a soft and silky dough. If it is a little sticky or dry adjust by adding in a little more milk or flour, different flours absorb different amounts of liquid.
Turn out onto a (lightly) floured work surface and knead very lightly for a minute to fully mix and gently stretch the gluten in the flour. When happy with the soft consistency of the dough gather it into a ball and pat it out flatter (to a round 3cm thick) with the palm of your hand, do not use a rolling pin. Use a 5cm pastry cutter to cut out rounds of dough and place on a baking sheet – taking note of the advice given above on cutting them out with a twist. Lightly gather together the rest of the remaining dough and repeat, gently cutting out more scones to use all the dough up. Leave on the baking tray to rest for 5 minutes.
Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 220C or until well risen and golden, keep an eye on them after 12 minutes, but don’t fully open the oven door until you are sure they are done. Cool the scones on a wire rack for 20 minutes
Serve the scones with either butter or clotted cream and a good jam. They are best eaten fresh the day they are made, although the next day, if toasted with a little butter and jam, they can be delicious too.
The perfect scone is enjoyed straight from the oven, fresh and ever-so-slightly warm, with a twenty minute cooling off period to prepare the little bowls of butter, clotted cream and jam – note on scone etiquette: guests should always be allowed to cut and fill their own scones.
Original Scone Recipe From 1890
‘Instruction In Cookery’ By Miss E. Briggs published 1890
1lb. flour. 2oz. caster sugar (if liked). 2oz. butter, or clarified dripping or lard. 1/2oz cream of tartar. 1/4 oz. bi-carbonate of soda or 1 tablespoonful baking powder. 1/2 pint milk (about) 1/4 teaspoonful salt, to taste. N.B. The soda and cream of tartar must be quite fresh.
Method:– Mix the flour and salt together, rub the butter in; mix the sugar and cream of tartar on a plate, and add it to the flour. Dissolve the soda in the milk; add it to the flour, making it into a rather moist paste, then form it into a round about 1 inch thick, flatten with the palm of the hand; cut slightly across each way with a knife, but not quite through. Place them on a greased baking-sheet, and bake about 1/2 hour. When nearly done, brush them over with sugar and milk beaten together.