Sorry for the lack of updates, folks, but my mother has been ill this week and consequently I’ve been kept busy running the household and taking care of the rest of my domestically-challenged family. Not to worry, there are posts in draft, just need the time, energy and mental capacity to blog them.
I have a confession to make. The last time that I made sultana scones was actually the the one and only time that I’ve blogged them. Now don’t get me wrong – the recipe itself is a gem, and the resulting scones are marvellously polished, gorgeous golden mountains that frankly look like they belong in a hotel as part of a spread for a rather posh afternoon tea. While they had awakened a hidden desire of scones, the fact that you had to pre-soak the sultanas meant that you could hardly whip up a batch when you were in the mood for one, and by the time the sultanas were ready for the scone-making ritual the next day, the craving may have passed!
Not happy, Jan. Not happy.
While it is, in my opinion, still my scone recipe of choice, what I needed was to find a recipe that would give close to sensational results, a moist and tender crumb that still had some heft, and something that could be whipped up in a heartbeat. Whilst I do not have the world’s biggest cookbook collection, I have my fair share but I found that though many held scone recipes of their own, reading the recipes left me feeling decidedly dull and uninspired.
Since I’d made my new year’s resolution last year had been not to buy any new cookbooks, I was stuck with the internet as being my only source of new inspiration (which isn’t so bad, considering the sheer excess of food blogs that there are), however, while I kept my eyes open, I just didn’t spot anyone doing a nice simple sultana scone recipe. Why is that? What have you lot got against sultana scones?!?
Anyway, my brother, bless his cotton socks, had read about this resolution on the blog (hi Martin!), so what did he get me for Christmas? Why, a couple of cookbooks that I just happened to have my eye on! How awesome is that?
One of the cookbooks he got me was a wonderful little marvel by an Australian lady by the name of Belinda Jeffery called ‘Mix & Bake‘ and has very quickly become one of my favourite baking books. Full of uncomplicated, easy-to-follow recipes, from beginning to end it’s an absolute gem and, in my humble opinion, it’s a darn shame that Ms. Jeffrey isn’t better known as I consider this to be far superior to all of my Donna Hay cookbooks.
There is a whole chapter in this book dedicated to sweet scones, and I drooled over each recipe before finally deciding on these marvellous fluffy buttermilk scones, which are perfectly marvellous in every way, and wonderfully homely and comforting, especially with some homemade jam and freshly whipped cream!
Fluffy Buttermilk Scones
(from Mix & Bake by Belinda Jeffery)
Ingredients (makes 10)
1 cup/150g self-raising flour
1 cup/160g wholemeal self-raising flour (or wholemeal AP flour + 2 tsp baking powder)
2 tbsp/25g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
80g cold unsalted butter, diced
100g natural sultanas (or chopped dried dates or other similar dried fruit)
1 cup/250mL buttermilk
To make a vegan version of these scones, you can use margarine instead of the butter, and make a buttermilk substitute by mixing together 1 cup soymilk with 1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice and allowing to sit for 5 minutes before using.
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray with some baking paper, then liberally dust with flour and set aside.
2. Sift together all the dry ingredients (both flours, sugar and salt), then rub in the cold butter with your fingertips till the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the dried fruit and toss well so it’s well coated.
3. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture, then pour in the buttermilk and quickly stir together till it holds together, then tip onto a floured chopping board and knead till just combined. Pat the dough about 4-5cm flat, then dip a round cutter into some flour and stamp out the scones, carefully placing the scones closely together on the prepared baking tray.
4. Lightly dust the tops with flour, then bake for 20 minutes, or till the scones are golden and sound hollow when lightly tapped on the top. Remove the tray from the oven and tightly wrap a clean tea towel around it for 5 minutes before serving with some homemade strawberry jam and freshly whipped cream!
[tags]scones, Belinda Jeffrey, sultanas, raisins, quickbreads, biscuits[/tags]