Downton Abbey cooking: Valentine-themed afternoon tea party
Abbey Cooks Magic Scones
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. frozen grated butter
- ½ cup cold milk
- Makes 8 x 2" scones
- Preheat oven to 475° F
- Sift the dry ingredients 3 times into a large bowl. Rub the frozen grated butter into the dry ingredients until it feels like sand. Add enough milk just until you get a sticky dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top. Knead very gently once, then fold and turn the kneaded dough 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 6" x 12", then fold into thirds.
- Using a well-floured 2" biscuit cutter, make 6 x 2" rounds. You can get 2 more scones from the scraps but they won't be as tender. Alternatively, use a well-floured sharp knife to form wedges.
- You can either brush the top of the scones with milk or lightly flour.
- Bake on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes until the scones are lightly coloured on the tops. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process.
Traditionally served with clotted cream and preserves, try a healthier option of non fat plain greek yoghurt in place of cream. For those who hail from Cornwall, jam comes first, then cream. Those from Devon place cream then jam.
Variations: There are many ways to adapt this recipe to make sweet or savoury scones:
- Buttermilk - replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tbsp.
- Cream - replace milk with cream, add ¼ tsp. of baking soda to the dry ingredients and glaze with cream.
- Whole wheat- replace half of the plain flour with whole wheat flour.
- Pumpkin - add 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. baking soda to dry ingredients, add 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, adding only enough milk to make sticky dough.
- Chocolate - add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and add 1/4 plain yoghurt to the wet.
- Glazed- lightly brush preserves on scones before baking to create a sweet glaze
- Dried Fruit - add ¼ cup dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.
- Berries - add 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen fruit, finely chopped.
- Whole wheat and fruit - replace half of the plain flour with whole wheat flour and add 1/4 cup chopped fruit.
- Cheese and Chive - add ½ teaspoon tsp. cayenne , 1/4 -1/2 cup grated cheese and 2 tbsp. of fresh herbs.
- Herb - include 3 tablespoons of finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives etc) to the dry ingredients.
Strawberry Champagne Jam
The most luxurious of jams, not too firmly set, strawberry and champagne jam is superb with scones. The recipe calls for champagne, but you can substitute with any dry sparkling wine or rose.
To make a sugar free version, use “no sugar added" pectin, to which you can add up to one cup of sugar substitute. Do not try to replace a sugar substitute for sugar using regular pectin as it will not likely set.
Yields about 6 cups of jam.
- 4 cups ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp. pectin
- 1 1/4 cups champagne or sparkling wine.
- 4 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a heavy-bottomed pan combine the strawberries, sugar and champagne and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the lemon juice and gently simmer for 20 minutes, then bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes.
- Test the setting point by placing a teaspoon of jam on a chilled saucer. If the surface of the jam wrinkles when pushed, it is ready. If not, continue to simmer and test again. Allow jam to sit for 15 minutes in the pan to solidify a little; this will prevent the fruit from floating to the top when it is in the jar.
- Ladle the jam into clean, warm sterilized jars. The jam sets as it cools. Process in water bath, wax seal or freezer method.
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