January 30th, 2011
My Scottish and Irish forebears must look down from Brigadoon and smile as they see me baking scones nearly every week. Oddly enough, the recipe I use was given to me by Auntie Mary, from the Slovenian side of the family.
Auntie Mary is a phenomenal baker of the old school. Her scones are light and fluffy, her pies are rich and flaky, and her quick breads are beyond compare. Here is the original recipe, a closely guarded secret until this moment; I even won a ribbon at the County Fair with a batch of these scones, many years ago.
Auntie Mary’s Scones
2 Cups Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Stir In (Optional)
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Oil
1 Egg, Slightly Beaten
Stir ingredients until just blended. Turn out the dough onto a slightly floured board and knead gently, usually just a few strokes are sufficient to perfect the mixing. Form into a flattened circle, about an inch thick. Cut into eighths. Bake on an ungreased tray at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
The result is a toothsome teatime treat. Smother them in clotted cream (or whipped cream mixed with a little sour cream if you can’t get your hands on real, fresh clotted cream) and berry jam. Repeat as desired.
The true art of the scone, however, is in the variations, usually invented on the spur of the moment. Here are a few I often use. Try them with my blessing — or better still, come up with your own.
- Leave out the sugar, substitute fruit juice (I like orange) for the milk
- Substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream
- Add cinnamon and/or nutmeg to the dry ingredients
- Mix a few Tablespoons of dried coconut or ground flaxseed with the dry ingredients
- Vary your dried fruit — cranberries, blueberries, cherries, or try all three
- Use fresh fruit — drained, crushed pineapple is delicious — but be sure to reduce the other liquids
- Add broken nutmeats
- Brush the tops of the scones with milk or juice and sprinkle with coarse sugar before baking
Don’t forget to make a pot of tea! Or a mango tea latte…