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Scones (England)


The most important piece of afternoon tea is the tea itself, but that is outside the scope of this episode.  So instead, let’s focus on the scone, the perfect little pastry at the center of the meal.


This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman in the New York Times ( These are English scones, so why am I using an American recipe? I don’t know - I guess because this was the one which seemed simplest, with ingredients which can be obtained anywhere.



  • 2 cups cake flour, more as needed

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1 egg

  • ½ to ¾ cup heavy cream, more for brushing



  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 C). Put the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Using a food processor helps to incorporate the butter thoroughly; you could mix it by hand, but you’ll need to work your fingers in there to make sure the butter gets blended.

  2. Add the egg and just enough cream to form a slightly sticky dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little flour, but very little; it should still stick a little to your hands.

  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice, then press it into a 3/4-inch-thick circle and cut into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or glass. Put the rounds on an non-greased baking sheet. Gently reshape the leftover dough and cut again. Brush the top of each scone with a bit of cream and sprinkle with a little of the remaining sugar.

  4. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the scones are a beautiful golden brown.

  5. Serve immediately, preferably with clotted cream (lightly salted, high fat butter will do if you don’t have the clotted cream).  Be sure to let the butter soften.  Then top with preserves: strawberry are traditional, but I had a vanilla chai jam that was outstanding, so do what feels good.


Recipe from

Picture courtesy of Ibán Yarza via Wikimedia commons

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