Monday, January 10, 2011

Tea, Scones and a good book

This is the time of the month when I submit my column to the Bolton Common newspaper.  I shared a recipe on "Scones" today.  It is a traditional recipe that I have used for 25 years.   Here goes:

The Mixing Bowl
By Renee Zarate
“Afternoon Tea”

Lately my book club has been reading a couple of novels by Charles Dickens.  When I read novels from that era for some reason I start dreaming of afternoon tea and scones enjoyed in front of a warm and inviting fire.  Here is a traditional recipe that makes a large batch of scones.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can have some now and freeze some for another time.  The scones are served warm with your favorite jam and a thickened cream that you can make yourself.  Split the scone in two horizontally, then spread it with a layer of jam and top it with a large spoonful of the heavy cream.

SCONES (makes 32)

6 cups of all purpose flour
¾ cup white sugar
1/3 cup of baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ lb. + 2 Tbl. of unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces
2 cups of buttermilk (or add 1 Tbl of vinegar to 2 cups of milk)
1 cup of raisins or currants

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Cut in the butter to get a coarse meal consistency.  Combine the buttermilk and the raisins and add to the above ingredients.  Turn out the dough onto a floured board and knead it until it holds together, handling it as little as possible.  Divide into 6 pieces.  Roll out each piece and cut out scones with a 2 inch round cookie cutter.  Put on an unbuttered cookie sheet and glaze the tops with egg wash.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or a little longer.  They should be golden brown.  (If you want to freeze the scones, do not bake them at this point, wait until you are ready to serve.  Do not defrost; put them frozen into the oven.  Bake until brown.  The baking time will probably be a little longer, check one to make sure they are done.)


Break one egg into a small cup and beat it gently with a fork.  Brush this mixture on the top of the scones being careful not to drip it on the sides.


2 cups of whipping cream
2 Tbl. buttermilk or sour cream
8 oz. Mascarpone cheese
1 or 2 Tbl. sugar

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for a least 24 hours.  Beat with an electric mixer just before serving, this will make the cream really thick.  The cream will keep for a week covered and refrigerated.

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