Scones. That quintessentially British bake on which the success of afternoon tea hinges upon. Super simple in concept, it’s surprisingly tricky to pull off scone perfection – toweringly tall, light and fluffy as a cloud, with a seam around their circumference which means you only need lift a knife to spread on your preserves and clotted cream.
It took me a lot of years and feeding my family a rather large number of sub-par scones to find The One but find it, I did. I can’t wait to share the recipe with you but first, here’s a video of me making my Lemon Drizzle Scones so you can see the technique at work!
You’ll see in this video that I do things a little differently to a classic, basic scone recipe, such as you may find in the mighty baking bible the Bero Book, as I use room temperature butter and a higher baking powder:flour ratio than in any other recipe. Perhaps even more controversially though, I reserve some of the flour and tip the sticky dough onto it, “chuffing it up” and picking up the excess as I go. This is really where the magic of the method lies!
I wrote about this technique briefly in my first scone recipe on the blog – Hot Cross Scones – which I came across on an early episode of the Great British Bake Off. Paul Hollywood mentioned these tips and after a bit of practice, I haven’t made scones any other way. It really does give you the tallest and fluffiest scones you can imagine.
And the way you fold the dough over and over itself, scooping up the extra flour as you go, gives you the layers you need to see your scones rise to expectations. They sometimes topple over but keeping a small dish of a little more flour to dip the cutter in as you go, will help them rise up straighter. Not that I aim for regimental straight-backed scone soldiers, the wonkiness is part of their charm!
As for the taste of these Lemon Drizzle Scones – they have a creaminess from the butter but the zest in the dough and the lemon juice in the icing give them a light and fresh taste making them the very taste of Spring. They melt in your mouth and are perfect served with a jar of Microwave Lemon Curd to spoon on as you eat. Plus once you’ve brought a tray of the tallest scones you have ever made out of the oven and devoured them whilst still a little warm, you won’t try any other method again!
Toweringly tall, flaky and light, these lemony scones are the taste of Spring. Check the video out for help with the technique but honestly, it's super easy!
- 450 g plain flour + 50g extra
- 80 g soft butter cut into cubes
- 80 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 250 ml buttermilk
- 2 tsp lemon extract
- 3 heaped tbsp icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp pearl sugar
Preheat the oven to 220˚C and dust a large baking tray with a light coating of flour. Clear up and clean your worktop - you're going to get your hands dirty making scones and you need plenty of space!
Place the 450g plain flour in a large bowl and rub in the cubes of butter until you feel it has a porridge oats like texture. Stir in the sugar, zest and baking powder.
Beat the eggs, buttermilk and lemon zest together in a jug and tip about 3/4 of it into the bowl of flour. Fold and mix with a spatula to combine and drizzle in enough of the buttermilk mixture to make a soft and sticky dough. You should have a couple of tbsp mixture left - reserve this for later.
Tip the extra 50g flour onto the worktop and scoop out the sticky dough on top of it. Using the excess flour to coat the dough, pat it out and fold it over on itself several times. Don't knead, just fold and keep on going until it feels smooth and almost all of the flour is incorporated.
Pat the dough lightly out to 4-5cm thick and using a well floured scone cutter, cut out as many scones as you like. Bare in mind they rise extremely well so unless you want monstrous scones, don't use a cutter less than 6cm across. Makes 10-12 generous sized scones. Gather up the dough scraps and carry on until it's all used up.
Brush just the tops of the scones with the reserved buttermilk mixture, trying to not let it drip down the sides (helps them to rise evenly as well as brown nicely).
Bake at 220˚C for 15-20 minutes, turning half way if necessary until well risen and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before icing.
Simply mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice until you have the texture of double cream. Drizzle over the barely warm scones and immediately sprinkle with the pearl sugar and zest so that they have the chance to stick before the icing sets. Eat immediately! (But will keep for 2 days in a cake tin).
- Place the scones only about 1 inch apart - they tend to grow upwards rather than outwards when placed close together on the baking tray.
- Keep plenty of extra flour about for dipping the scone cutter in nearby in a small bowl or cup.
- Pat out any remaining scraps lightly and tuck under any scones which look less tall before baking to improve their height and prevent waste!
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