Having a scone at a little tea room in Clovelly, England was a revelation. Clovelly is a little fishing village, my favorite kind because I love the sea. The cafe was built into the side of a cliff that bordered the beach. I remember the precipitous descent from the top of the cliff down rickety stairs, a thin white railing keeping us from plunging down to the beach below. The scones were the best we’d had in England. They were light and soft and not too sweet or rich, forming the perfect platform for thick Devonshire cream and strawberry preserves.
Since Clovelly, those many moons ago, I have fiddled around with a number of recipes, trying to create scones that duplicated that memory I had. I often start with Cooks Illustrated because everything is scaled and it makes it that much easier to sort out how to adjust ingredients. They have a recipe for a English style scones and it was good but not quite what I was looking for. In the end, I used it as an outline but made some changes. I also tried Mary Barry’s recipe and a few other British recipes that call for self rising flour. Getting self rising flour in the states is difficult and expensive. I didn’t find that it made a difference in the finished scone, so I wouldn’t bother with it. The difference between British self rising flour and US AP flour is that the British flour has baking powder in it and is milled from softer wheat. You can always try this recipe with pastry flour, which is lower in gluten than AP flour. Keep in mind, flours that are lower in gluten will need less liquid, so hold more back and add as needed.
- 425 grams (15 oz) all purpose flour (Gold Medal or Pillsbury)
- 113.5 grams (4 oz) cultured butter, room temperature, about 65-70 degrees
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons double acting baking powder
- 100 grams (2 large eggs)
- 245 grams (1 cup) whole milk
- 68 grams (1/3 cup) superfine sugar