Scones – Mary Berry’s Baking Bible

I’ve tried a few scone recipes over the years and I’m convinced Mary Berry’s recipe from her Mary Berry’s Baking Bible is the best. However lovely as these were they wouldn’t stand up to the sort of scrutiny baking gets on the Great British Bake-off. The colour in this batch was uneven and would have been worse if I’d tried to take them all out at the same time but I’d done lots of moving scones around in the last few minutes of baking. The uneven heat was because I’d baked these in the oven in my parents house and it really isn’t great although I think it’s only 2 years old. My rangemaster oven is much better and I’ve been glad I spent the money on it when we redid our kitchen a few years ago. I’d also struggled to find scales and a measuring spoon. The scales I eventually found were a tiny set of spring loaded scales that are around 40 years old, and I had to use a regular teaspoon for the baking powder. I read in a recent article on Paul Hollywood (of GBBO fame) that you should leave them for 30mins to rise before baking. I didn’t have time to try that this time but I will next batch.

I made this particular batch because we were showing my nephew’s fiancée’s parents what the tables for their wedding reception would look like. The couple want to do afternoon tea with mismatched vintage china and cakes on cake stands at their reception. The china looked very pretty on white tablecloths (and has been fun to hunt for in charity shops) and cakes always look much more impressive on tiered cake stands. My only concern with making the scones for their reception is they really taste so much better made on the day. I need to try putting some in the freezer and seeing how they work coming out a few hours before being eaten but I have a suspicion it may just be a very early start on the day.

Ingredients

  • 450g (1lb) self raising flour
  • 2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
  • 75g (2oz) softened butter
  • 50g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • about 225ml (8fl oz) milk

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees C/Gas mark 7. Lightly grease and flour 2 baking trays.
  2. Measure flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your finger tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Beat the eggs together and make up to a generous 300ml (1/2 pint) with the milk. Then put about 2 tablespoons worth of the mixture aside to brush the top. Gradually add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring t in until until you have a soft dough. The scone mixture should be on the wet side, sticking to your fingers as the scones will rise better.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it out with your hands or a rolling pin to a thickness of 1-2 cm. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to stamp out the scones by pushing the cutter straight down into the dough (as opposed to twisting it), the lifting it straight out. This will ensure the scone rises evenly and keep their shape. Gently push the remaining dough together, knead lightly then reroll and cut out more scones.
  5. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking trays and brush the top with the reserved egg mixture. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-15mins, until well risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool, covered with a moist tea towel to keep them moist.
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