Many mornings in my childhood I would wake to the smell of scones baking. They were something my mother pulled together effortlessly, never weighing any of the ingredients but using a teacup for guidance. The butter would be rubbed into the flour, the soured milk added and brought together by gentle mammy hands before being rolled out on the kitchen table with the back of a glass. I loved to listen for the sweet little sigh of the dough being cut into circles as if it were resigned to its fate. Offcuts were given to little fingers to play with while the anticipation built along with the oven temperature. Butter was spread thickly, melting and dripping from the hot scones before being devoured greedily with sweet tea. To many it was only baking scones but to me, it is one of the memories I cherish from my childhood; sitting at the table watching my mother doing something she probably didn’t think twice about.
We spent a lot of time with my mother’s sister as children and there was a running rivalry between them on who make the best scones. I would often be asked when I returned home ‘who makes the nicest scones, me or Mrs Reilly?’ so from a young age we learnt diplomacy and always said ‘you mammy’ no matter what the truth was. I was only discussing scones with Mrs R recently and she told me that she can’t manage to rub the butter into the flour anymore so she grates it in. I have tried this little tip on a couple of occasions now and find it works perfectly, so no more messy hands!
This flavour combination is inspired a lovely Brother Hubbard scone I tried a couple of months ago. My mother never ever used ginger as a result of sickening herself by stealing the Christmas ginger cake from the press that her mother had bought for the family and eating the entire cake on her own as a child. I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree; I’m still not a fan of strawberry ice-cream after a similar incident.
Ginger & Sultana Scones – makes 9
- 450g self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 80g cold butter
- 30g caster sugar
- 100g sultanas
- 120g chopped cryatallised ginger
- 300ml of buttermilk or soured milk
- 1 egg for egg-washing the tops
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees or 200 if fan assisted. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.
- Add the flour and baking powder to a large bowl and mix. Grate in the cold butter using the coarse side of a grater and then mix well into the flour. Alternatively cut the butter into cubes and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, sultanas and ginger and stir to combine. Add the milk and mix until you have a soft dough.
- Knead the dough on a floured worksurface and flatten it with your hands to a thickness of about 3cm thick and stamp out using a 78mm cutter (listening carefully for the sighing!) Keep re-rolling until all of the dough has been used.
- Brush the tops with the beaten egg, being careful not to get it down the sides as it will inhibit the rise.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Allow to cool ever so slightly and enjoy with butter and jam.
Just wanted to share a photo of my new mug. My Mother-In-Law bought it for me last week in Scotland while we were back for a visit, it translates from Scottish accent to ‘Keep calm & don’t lose the head’ It’s even nicer when full of a frothy caramel latte. Oh Saturday – how I love you!