By Mags Hall
These savoury scones went down a treat at our Beginners Grow Your Own workshops at the weekend – served alongside warming barley broth, they helped us forget the thick snow building up outside, at least for a few minutes!
The recipe below makes 8 big scones, but you can double up the quantities and it’s still a very manageable amount to work with. They’re an easy but impressive alternative to bread when you’ve got friends popping round for lunch.
35g chilled butter, cut into small dice, plus extra for greasing
100g wholemeal flour
125g self raising flower
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g hard cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on top (I used St Andrew’s Farmhouse Cheddar)
1 heaped tablespoon sour cream
50 – 70ml milk
A small bunch thyme, the leaves stripped from the stalks
Preheat the oven to 220C / gas mark 7, and lightly grease a baking tray. Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and add the diced butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs – cold hands and a cold kitchen helps here! Once fine and evenly distributed, grate the cheese and stir it into the butter / flour mixture, along with the thyme and a good grind of black pepper.
Break the egg into a measuring jug, add the soured cream and add enough milk to make it up to 150ml. Pour all but 2 tsp of the egg, soured cream and milk mixture into the dry ingredients, mix briefly with a round-bladed knife and bring together with your hands to make a soft dough, taking care not to over-mix it. Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and knead very lightly and very briefly until just smooth. The less you handle your scones at this point, the lighter the end result will be.
Lightly roll out the dough until it is 1.5cm thick. If you like nice neat round scones, use a cutter, however I prefer to just cut the dough into 8 squares or finger shapes with a knife – this means you don’t over-handle the dough by re-rolling and re-cutting the last few scones.
Place the scones on the baking sheet, brush with the rest of the egg and milk mixture and sprinkle the tops with the extra grated cheese. Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven, slide onto a wire rack and leave to cool a little, but not too much – these are definitely best served still warm and cheesy, fresh from the oven!
Do you have your own favourite recipe for tea time treats? Them come along to our Eco-Village Afternoon Tea on the 23rd March and bring some for us to sample!