Saturday, 18 October 2014
Jamie Oliver's super flaky cheese scones
I don't think I had ever had scones before moving to the UK. As I am a self-confessed carboholic of the worst kind, it was obviously meant to be that I would fall in love with them. But I'm also very picky with my scones, I won't just have any old store bought, mass produced scones. They shouldn't be to doughy and soft, they should have a crisp crust and be crumbly on the inside. Sweet scones should be filled with heaps of clotted cream and jam and cheese scones should have heaps of cheese on the top, be nice and crusty and soft and fluffy inside.
My previous job cafeteria had really good cheese scones, me and Best Friend used to start our mornings with a coffee and cheese scone. You knew it would be a great day if the cheese scones were still warm. My current job is close to a Marks&Spencers and their bakery cheese scones are pretty good too, although not top notch. In fact I consume so many cheese scones, whenever any of my colleagues are going over to the M&S they automatically ask me if I want them to bring over a cheese scone for me. Can you say "In need of an intervention"?
So after spending loads of money on cheese scones I thought how silly is that when I could make my own for less. It turns out mine didn't work out much less, as ingredients were about £0.37 per home made scone versus £0.63 for the store bought ones in M&S, but it's still a bit of a saving. This way I do know what goes into my scones though. I use the expensive butter and flour, I could drive the price of ingredients down a bit if I used store brand ingredients. I'm admittedly a bit of a butter snob, I am sure there has to be a difference in quality as store brand butter is almost half the price compared to the brand I like to use. I should probably do a double blinded, placebo controlled trial, although I'm not quite sure how to do it in practice. Bake with a blindfold on?
I usually turn to my traditional and no fail cheese scone recipe, but this time I thought I would try something a bit different. I used a recipe from Jamie's Great Britain. It's a recipe that is originally designed for a sweet fruit scone, but I just removed the fruit and sugar and added cheese hoping that they would come out all right. I also like my scones big, so I used a big cutter instead of making the more traditionally sized small scones. I just don't see a point of eating two smaller scones when you could have one large one. Obviously, eating just one small one is not an option.
As with any other dough that requires butter to be rubbed into flour, you should work relatively quickly to keep the butter cold as that will create the flake in the scones. Also, the less you work the dough the better. I don't use a rolling pin to roll it out, just my hands to pat it. Also, when you use the cutter to cut the scones, just press it straight down, don't rotate it as this will impair how the scones rise in the oven.
Crumbly cheese scones (makes 7 large ones):
150 g cold unsalted butter
500 g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsp milk
100 g grated cheddar (set aside 1/4 to sprinkle on top) £1
Add butter, flour, baking powder and salt in to a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture to create a rough, crumbly mixture. Make a well in the middle of the mix and add eggs and milk and give a quick mix. Resist the urge to mess too much with it. Leave to stand for 15 minutes in the fridge, with the bowl covered with clingfilm. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Roll out to about 3 cm (just over an inch) thickness, cut out large or small scones and place on a baking sheet. Brush with milk and grate cheese onto the scones. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is golden. If you make smaller scones, decrease the baking time.
These scones didn't rise sky high like I had hoped they would. Turns out if I had read the the recipe properly, it called for self-raising flour, not regular. And people not following instructions is one of my pet peeves... But one thing they certainly were was flaky. They had that absolutely lovely melt-in-your mouth flakiness so I will certainly use this recipe in the future as well, and alternate with my easy bake version. And make with self-rising flour next time. They are at their best when eaten when still warm, with a bit of butter.