From the 14th to the 20th August is the official Afternoon Tea Week 2017, meaning you have the perfect excuse for having a scone every single day!
For us, the best way to enjoy that quintessential British treat is with raspberry jam and the essential clotted cream.
When making scones we’ve found that the trick is to handle the dough as gently as possible for the softest, lightest result.
Afternoon Tea was introduced to the UK by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford around the 1840s.
It’s rumoured that she complained of “having that sinking feeling” often around the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o’clock in the evening.
The solution for the Duchess was a pot a tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon.
Proud of herself, she soon invited friends for “tea and a walk in the fields.” Other social hostesses took to the idea and before long fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.
Other social hostesses took to the idea and before long fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.
For the tea rooms, coffee shops, hotels and country homes around the United Kingdom this is big business.
Especially when you consider that some 165 million cups of tea are drunk each and every day across Britain.
Serving supple and sumptuous scones could be a method of increasing revenue, or simply a great way to get customers parting with that little extra cash.
Plus, fresh scones are always tastier!
Ingredients (makes 12):
- 450g self-raising flour
- 100g butter, cold and cut in cubes
- 50g caster sugar
- 100g sultanas (optional)
- 200ml semi-skimmed milk
- 3 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 220°C and lightly flour a baking tray.
- Use your fingers or a food processor to work the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture takes on the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Add the sultanas at this point, if you’re using them.
- Whisk two of the eggs into the milk then use a butter knife to stir into the dry ingredients until they come together to form a soft dough.
- Tip the dough onto a floured surface, bring together with your hands and roll or pat into a 2.5cm layer.
- Use a crimped scone cutter to cut out 12 shapes and place on the baking tray.
- Beat the remaining egg lightly and brush over the tops of the scones as a glaze.
- Bake for about 12 minutes or until the scones are risen and golden brown on top.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving as part of afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and iced fancies ideally eaten in the garden!