You know those important life-altering decisions that you take your time to ponder over? Like choosing your career path, moving to a new city, or getting married? I don’t think it’s normal that I say this, but I can handle those (We’re moving to Spain? Bring it on!) The ones that I spend agonizingly long hours mulling over are questions such as these – should I make a savoury scone or a sweet one? Brown sugar or white?
When it comes to bigger decisions, I feel it in my gut. And I just go with it. Unfortunately, adding lemon zest to scones is not something that the gods thought worthy of sending a sign out for, and the only feeling in my gut I got was the rumble in my belly.
I tried this recipe a couple of weeks ago without the addition of lemon zest and they came out pretty well. It had every favourable characteristic that is used to describe a good scone – light, fluffy and crumbly.
This idea, I came across by accident. I was flipping through the ‘Prevention’ magazine and saw a recipe for citrus-scented bread, and thought, why not try them with scones? Scones just as they are, work well with different flavourings since they have a neutral base, but I’ve only ever had them plain (sometimes with raisins in them) eaten with/without jam or preserve. Let me just say, the zest was a really pleasant surprise. Maybe I’ll try these citrusy scones with marmalade next time. Or just plain, dunked in tea..I’m going to need more time to think this through.
INGREDIENTS: (Makes 6-8 medium-sized scones)
Adapted from Jane Hornby
Self-raising flour – 175 grams, plus extra for dusting
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Unsalted butter – 40 grams
Buttermilk – 85 ml (or substitute with 85 ml of whole-fat milk mixed with 1 tbsp lime juice)
Castor sugar – 1 ½ tbsp
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Orange zest – 3/4 tsp, finely chopped
A small pinch of salt
Egg – 1, lightly beaten.
To serve : Preserve or clotted cream.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, mix 85 ml of whole-fat warm milk with 1 tbsp of lime juice and set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 220°C (430° F). In a large bowl, mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cubed butter; work the butter between the tips of your fingers until it starts to resemble coarse crumbs. Add in the sugar.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest. Using a spatula, incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet, without over-kneading it (Note : Don’t add extra flour into the dough even if it looks a little wet at this stage)
Dust your work surface with some flour and tip the dough out. Dust your fingers with extra flour and fold the dough over about 2-3 times until it starts to look a little smoother to work with.
Pat the dough into a ball with your hands and to the thickness of about 4 cm. Dredge your cutter into the flour and push it into the dough, repeating until you have 2 or 3 scones. At this point you will have to press the remaining dough back into a ball to cut another couple more.
Brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg, and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.