My mother is of English and Scottish descent, while my father’s family hales from England and Wales. My British ancestors on both sides came to the United States in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, the most recent being my Mum’s father, who emigrated in 1930. Consequently, I’ve always felt a strong connection to my British heritage. My husband likes to tease that if it’s associated in any way, shape or form with the UK, I will love it. I am an avid tea drinker, devour British literature (especially Jane Austen), and thoroughly enjoy the various period dramas, comedies, and mystery series. I’m an avid monarchist, greatly admire the Queen, and eagerly woke up way too early to watch the royal weddings. When I grow up, I want to be Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, or Emma Thompson. You get the picture. I even adore the food traditions, such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, prime rib with horseradish and Yorkshire pudding, and most of all, the various forms in which one has tea—Cream Tea, Afternoon Tea, and High Tea.
One important element of any Tea is scones. They are wonderfully diverse and can be enjoyed as sweet or savory. A myriad of add-ins can alter flavors, and there are some really delicious combinations to be enjoyed. As much as I love the variety, I always find myself returning to traditional cream scones. They are lightly sweet, and are consumed spread with strawberry jam and Clotted Cream. These scones are simple, elegant, and incredibly delicious.
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
4 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 eggs, divided (for what it’s worth, I use extra-large eggs)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Sanding sugar, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir to combine.
3. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment, work the butter into the flour until it resembles course sand. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do this by pulsing the ingredients together in a food processor, or by hand with a pastry cutter or two forks.
4. Meanwhile, combine the heavy cream, 1 egg, and vanilla extract in a measuring cup. Using a fork, whisk the ingredients to break up the egg.
5. Pour the heavy cream mixture into the flour mixture. Run the mixer just until a soft, sticky dough forms. You can also mix these ingredients by hand if you’d prefer.
6. Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour. Divide the scone dough into thirds. Working with 1/3 of the dough at a time, gently form the dough into a ball (it should be about the size of a softball). Place the ball on the floured work surface and gently pat it into a round disk, about 3/4-inch thick.
7. Dip a knife into flour, then cut the disk into quarters. Transfer the quarters to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
8. Once each scone has been formed, beat the remaining egg with 1 Tbsp water. Brush the top of each scone with the egg wash, then sprinkle them with sanding sugar to taste.
9. Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with strawberry jam and Clotted Cream.
Makes 12 scones
🥄 Fun Fact: The Queen reportedly eats her scones by first spreading them with jam, then topping them with clotted cream.