The apple & cinnamon ice cream-scone combination: Â truly a winner.
It was inspired by and amazing icecream experience I had in Italy with chocolate gelato in a brioche bun.
Peter and I first tried it out when we made icecream for the great and good of the the UK documentary film community at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival last year (that’s a long story). It was a huge success, I remember standing around on the pavement on a chilly November morning (no danger of the icecream melting prematurely that day) stuffing myself and passers-by with sconey, creamy goodness. The scones were extra useful that day since we didn’t need to buy tubs and spoons to hand the icecream out and they were far tastier than commercial wafer cones.
So here is my scone recipe followed by one of its more recent outings at a beach party (Scottish style)
Scones are something of an obsession with me I bake them practically every week.Â So my first disclaimer for this recipe is that, as a result my idea of what a good scone is might have been gradually morphed into something different from the general populous. This is especially likely with something as traditional as scones, where everyone had their own idea of what theyâ€™re meant to be like.
As you may have noticed this recipe (and indeed this pre-amble) is rather detailed and long winded. Underneath this there is a straightforward recipe which you can pick out and ignore the rest if you want. However, Iâ€™ve always found it frustrating to use over simplified recipes which then donâ€™t work (or live up to your expectations) and leave you frustrated thinking â€“ â€œwell I did exactly as it said, and it didnâ€™t work! Stupid recipeâ€. Scones (like bread) are very prone to this because the basic ingredients are so simple, the difference between what makes them good and bad is entirely how you handle the ingredients. So Iâ€™ve provided the full details of everything I do that seems to work in the hope that somewhere in there, there are the keyâ€™s to success. Good luck.
Mix the following dry ingredients together
- 1 lb plain flour
- 2 level tsp baking powder
- 1-2 level tsp of bicarbonate of soda
(or more baking powder if using yoghurt instead of buttermilk, see later, the amount of bicarb depends on your desire for fluffiness weighed against the increased bicarb flavour)
- Freshly grated nutmeg
(afraid its trial and error with the amount)
- 4oz white sugar
(caster or granulated)
- Pinch of salt
(omit if using salted butter)
- 4oz butter, chopped into small pieces
Rub fat into flour with the tips of fingers, or give it a wiz in a food processer. I have a funny little metal thing which looks like a kung fu knuckle duster which lets me chop in the fat by hand without touching the mix, but I donâ€™t think itâ€™s essential. The main thing is that the fat shouldnâ€™t melt when rubbing it in otherwise the scones will have a tougher texture.
Then mix in:
- 4-6oz sultanasÂ (I usually eye-ball it)
- Handfull (1-2oz) of walnut piecesÂ (keep them chunky, the same size as sultanas)
Then comes the tricky stage â€“
adding the liquid:
- Take approx 12floz or 300ml cultured buttermilk (if unavailable use low fat plain yoghurt diluted with just enough milk to bring it to the consistency of buttermilk).
The only way to achieve light crumbly scones is to add just enough liquid to bind the dry ingredients together.
If you add too much the dough becomes sticky and the scones end up cakey and wet inside. If you try and bake them for longer to dry them out they become burnt on the outside and still cakey on the inside (mmmn!), and the extra mixing involved in adding more flour after adding too much liquid over works the dough an breaks up all those precious air pockets within the mix which will make the scones fluff nicely.
I add the butter milk dollop by dollop mixing with a knife so that each bit of the dry mix get a little bit of wet near it, especially the little pockets hiding near the bottom of the bowl. It will reach a point where there are lots of clumps of dough but it hasnâ€™t all stuck together in one big ball. If you pick up a little scone sized ball and gently push it together it should hold together without breaking into little pieces â€“ thatâ€™s just perfect. If not just keep adding little dribbles of buttermilk into the mix until you reach this.
Then just gently press together the scones put them on a floured baking tray, and brush the tops with beaten egg yolk.
Bake at approx 180oC for approx 15 minutes. They may need more or less than this, I just bake them until they look good and browned but not burnt ( a la King Alfred)
A Grand Day Out
This particular batch was made of scones was made for a beach picnic arranged by our friend, the ever radiant Julie. Since there’s already a post on the recipe forÂ apple & cinnamon ice cream I’ve just included the pictures.