Going on and on about scones ... again
I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.
[From: "Three men in a boat", Jerome K. Jerome]
That's me: in love with the idea of doing things, but frankly not particularly disposed to performing the hard yards. If you look up the definition of lazy, you are sure not only to see "Resistant to work or exertion", but the words "See also Hoppo Bumpo".
I suspect this is why - as I dropped an application to compete in a cookery competition into the post - I was already looking for the the shortcut to creating prize-winning scones.
I have previously written about my propensity for using the food processor to create scone dough: a technique that would horrify Nannas the world over. Its unconventional. But oh so quick. All done with the flick of a switch. I like that in a cooking method. It seemed to be the way of the future, until I saw a cooking demonstration on television.
Delightful TV chef Gary Mehigan was showing cookery contestants on Masterchef how to make his beautiful date and lemon scones. Whilst the end product was of interest, it was his method that caught my eye. Here was a recipe for scones, that involved only stirring liquid into dry ingredients. No butter. No rubbing-in. Fancy being able to eliminate the hard work of taking the food processor out of the cupboard!
I have embraced this new method wholeheartedly. I do hope my blue-ribbon-laziness is acknowledged (... even if my scones are not) at the forthcoming Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show.
Scones for sloths
(Based on Gary's date and lemon scones)
This method makes a beautifully light, fluffy scone. I should imagine that is better to use regular cream rather than a "light" version, as the cream provides the fat component. Fat helps reduce the amount of gluten that is worked up in the mixture. Gluten makes baked goods stronger - or more accurately, tougher - and is the enemy of the scone!
3 cups self-raising (self rising) flour
¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten (I use 2 heaped teaspoons of Orgran's No Egg egg replacer powder)
150ml (5 fluid oz) pouring cream
175ml (6 fluid oz) milk + extra
1 cup chopped dates and the rind of a grated lemon - OR - 2 teaspoons of vanilla (all optional)
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF).
- Grease and flour a baking tray or line it with baking paper or a silicon baking mat.
- Sift the flour and sugar into a bowl. If you are using egg replacer like I do, add this to the dry mixture too.
- If you are adding dates and lemon stir these in to the flour mixture.
- Pour in combined cream, milk - and the fresh egg and vanilla if you are using these.
- Stir until you have a sticky dough. If you find there is still a bit of dry flour in bowl add more milk, little by little until the whole mixture is combined.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured board and gently pat out to about 3cm in thickness. The less patting the better.
- Cut out the scones - I usually use a wine glass (!), but have just invested in a metal scone cutter which is about 5cm in diameter.
- Place the scones on the tray. Brush with a little milk or cream and dust with a little caster (superfine) sugar.
- Bake for approximately 12 - 14 minutes or until the scones are golden and sound hollow if tapped on the bottom.