I am attempting to make the perfect traditional Irish scone, but have yet to fully accomplish my mission to my total satisfaction. This last batch is a recipe from Darina Allen’s Mom. Darina is like the Julia Child of Ireland; a fabulous and creative chef and baker and runs the Ballymaloe Cookery School including organic farm and gardens, just outside of Cork City in Shanagarry. Some day I am going to attend her school. I figured if I used a recipe from her family I could not go wrong. They were not bad by any means, but they just were not perfect. I did a couple things wrong. First, I completely missed the sugar in her list of ingredients. She calls for 50 grams, which is 2 oz. or 1/4 cup of castor sugar. I thought it odd that there was no sugar so used only 2 tsp. Not quite enough. My husband remedied that problem by having them the first time doused in maple syrup and the next serving heaped with Irish marmalade. Second, I used a bit too much butter 8 oz.; not 6; and finally, I think I needed a touch more flour. Next time I will weigh it! They were still quite delicious!
MUMMY’S SWEET WHITE SCONES
900 g (2 lbs. or 3.8 cups) white flour
175 f (6 oz.) butter. (I used 1 stick, which is 8 oz. Next time I will follow recipe exactly!)
3 free-range eggs
A good pinch of salt (I used a big pinch of Maldon flake salt.)
50 g (2 oz. or 1/4 cup) castor sugar
3 heaping tsp. baking powder
450 ml (15 fl. oz. or 1.875 cups) rich milk to mix (I used 3/4 cup heavy cream and the rest regular whole milk.)
Eggwash Glaze with crunchy Demerara sugar or course granulated sugar for coating the top of the scones. To make the Eggwash Glaze whisk 1 egg with a pinch of salt. This is brushed over the scones before baking to help them brown in the oven. Then top with the sugar.
Preheat oven to 250C/475F. Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour mixture and using your fingers run in the butter. Make a well in the centre. Whisk 3 eggs with the milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. My dough was very soft!
Turn out onto a floured board. Don’t knead, but shape just enough to make a round. Roll out to about 2 1/2c (1 inch) and cut or stamp into scones.
Here’s her tip: Stamp them as little as possible. The first scones will be lighter than the second rolling.
I used a 1 cup measuring cup to cut them, but the dough was so soft I shaped them with my hands.
Put on a baking sheet–no need to grease. Brush the tops with egg wash and dip each one in crunchy Demerara or course granulated sugar.
Bake in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack.
No complaints from my husband, Jerry, particularly on the size of the scones. I cut them a bit larger than traditionally sized scones. Next time…!
A few weeks ago I tried another scone recipe. I knew these were not Traditional Irish, but they sounded really different and delicious…and they were.
ORANGE CARAWAY SCONES
I found this recipe in an old Gourmet cookbook, called Gourmet’s Weekends. These scones are also lacking that beautiful scone height I am hoping to achieve, but the taste and texture were really good. My husband dubbed them “SCOOKIES” as they are part scone; part thick cookie.
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed Orange Juice
1 Tbsp. freshly grated Orange Zest
1 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds 1 1/4 cups all-purpose white flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a baking sheet. In a small bowl whisk together eggs and cream, reserving 1 Tbsp. egg mixture, and stir in orange juice and zest, and caraway seeds. In a separate bowl whisk together the flours 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add orange juice mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well with a fork until a dough just forms. The dough will be quite sticky.
With floured hands knead dough lightly on a floured surface for about 30 seconds. Pat dough gently into a 3/4 inch thick round and cut out rounds with a 2 inch cutter dipped in flour. Arrange scones on a prepared baking sheet.
Form any scraps gently into a ball. Pat out dough and cut out more scones. Brush tops of scones with reserved egg mixture and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake in middle of oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. These were excellent hot from the oven, slathered with butter and marmalade.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!
I’M GOING TO KEEP MAKING SCONES
UNTIL I GET IT JUST RIGHT!
NEXT TIME I’M GOING TO SHARE
A RECIPE FOR DUCK LIVER PATE!