Devonshire Scones

I can’t believe that it’s taken me 39 years (nearly 40 – but let’s not go into details, eek) to eat (never mind bake) my first scone! It was well worth the wait, however, as they were delicious πŸ™‚ Last weekend I decided to bake Mary Berry’s Devonshire Scones; you can find the recipe on page 123 of her book 100 Cakes and Bakes. Will (my hubby) loves scones, so I thought I would give them a go.

Making the Scones

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

First of all, I gathered together all of the ingredients to make the scones:

  • 450 g self-raising flour
  • 2 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 75 g butter (room temperature)
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Approximately 225 ml milk

Equipment-wise, you need two baking sheets. Mary Berry says that this recipe makes 8 – 10 large (9 cm) scones or 20 smaller ones. I was able to make 17 from my batch and they were about 5 to 5.5 cm in width, so I guess mine turned out to be on the smaller side. I used the cutter size recommended in the recipe, so they couldn’t really have turned out to be any other size anyway!

Ingredients
Devonshire Scones Ingredients

Step 2: Make the dough

Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the butter.

Flour_Baking Powder_Butter
Flour, Baking Powder and Butter

Then, get your glamorous assistant to rub the flour, baking powder and butter together to make fine breadcrumbs πŸ™‚ I have an old repetitive strain injury that flares up every now and then, so today I asked Will to help me out with this task:

Making Breadcrumbs
Will making fine breadcrumbs πŸ™‚
Fine Breadcrumbs
Ta-da! Fine Breadcrumbs

Next, stir in the sugar (I could do this bit πŸ™‚ )

Breadcrumbs and Sugar
Breadcrumbs and Sugar

Now, beat the eggs together and add milk to make the mixture up to a good 300 ml.

Egg and Milk
Egg and Milk

I then set aside approximately two tablespoons of the mixture in a bowl ready for glazing the scones later on.

Egg Mixture
Egg mixture for dough and for glazing

Next, gradually add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients to make a soft dough. The recipe said to stir the egg mixture in, so I started off doing this with a wooden spoon:

Egg and Dry Ingredients
Mixing the egg with the dry ingredients

Stirring like this was okay up to a point, but it didn’t seem to be working that well in terms of forming a nice ball.

Making dough
Stirring to make the dough

So, due to my injury, I got my glamorous assistant Will to take over and use his fingers to form the dough πŸ™‚

Fingers_Dough
Will making the dough

According to Mary Berry, it is better for the dough to be ‘on the wet side, sticking to your fingers’, as apparently this helps the scones to rise better. We paid close attention to the texture of our dough, and as you can see below, it ended up quite satisfyingly sticky. As we thought our dough was sticky enough, we didn’t need to use all of the egg and milk mixture (I think we left about 75 ml).

Sticky Dough
Sticky dough

Step 3: Cut out scones

Next, I floured the surface in preparation for flattening the dough. The recipe says to ‘lightly flour’ the surface – I wonder what that means exactly? I tend to be quite generous in my sprinkling, but I have no idea what’s right! You can either flatten the dough with your hand or a rolling pin; I chose the latter.

Dough_Rolling Pin
Dough and Rolling Pin

The dough should be a thickness of 1 – 2 cm. I used a ruler to help me measure this and my dough ended up being about 1 3/4 cm. I found it quite hard to roll the dough out to a consistent thickness, but I guess that comes with practice.

Thickness of Dough
Ensuring the dough is the correct thickness

Using a 5cm fluted cutter (as recommended in the recipe), I started to cut out the scones. To do this, you need to push the cutter straight down into the dough (do not twist it) and then lift it straight out. Apparently this helps to make sure the scones rise evenly and keep their shape.

Fluted Cutter
Using fluted cutter to stamp out scones

Initially it was quite a satisfying task cutting the scones out, as the elastic dough was nice to handle. I found that some scones lifted straight out in the cutter, whereas some didn’t; but this wasn’t a problem at all.

Cut Out Scones
Cutting out the scones

After punching out the scones, you then need to gently push the rest of the dough together, knead it very lightly and repeat the process by re-rolling and punching out more scones. I have to say, the more rolling you do, the harder it is for the dough to stay together. It becomes increasingly cracked and starts to fall apart.

I managed to roll out my dough five times. The first roll I got ten scones, the second roll four scones and the third, fourth and fifth rolls I got one scone each time. With each roll, the texture of the scones deteriorated becoming more and more cracked. You can see below how bad my final scone looked, but I decided to bake it anyway to see what would happen πŸ™‚

Cracked Scone
A very cracked scone from my fifth (and final) rolling out of the dough!

Step 4: Turn on the oven

I turned on the fan oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Step 5: Prepare the baking sheets

Next, I lightly greased two baking sheets with butter.

Step 6: Arrange scones on baking sheets and glaze

In total, I had prepared 17 scones, so I decided to place the best ones (the first eight I cut out) on one tray, and the rest on the other tray. You can see the mutant scone in the middle of the tray on the right!

Scones on Baking Sheets
Scones arranged on two baking sheets

Next, I glazed the tops of the scones with the beaten egg mixture that I had put aside earlier:

Glaze Scones
Glazing the Scones

Step 7: Bake scones

The recipe said to bake the scones for 10 – 15 minutes ‘until well risen and golden’. Since the recipe didn’t say to bake the two sheets separately, I decided to take a risk and put both trays in the oven at the same time. I put the cracked and uglier batch at the top (as I figured they would be most likely to burn haha) and the nicer-looking batch at the bottom. Putting both trays in at the same time was not a good idea. As I peered into the oven through the glass, I could see that the batch on the top tray were baking a lot faster than the bottom batch. If I’d have trusted my instincts, I would have taken the top tray out sooner, but as it was, I took them out after 10 minutes and they were, let’s say, a little burnt on top:

Burnt Scones
Slightly burnt (or well-coloured?!?) scones

I took the bottom batch out after 13 minutes and I was quite pleased with them:

Scones Baked Nicely
Baked scones

I left both batches to cool on a wire tray, and then covered them with a clean tea towel to keep them moist.

I don’t know why I’m featuring this monstrosity, but here’s a picture of a mutant scone! I don’t know if this was the same scone as the really cracked one I pointed out earlier in my blog post, but in any case, it was definitely a little odd looking! The rest had risen fairly equally, I’m happy to say πŸ™‚

Mutant Scone
Mutant Scone!

Preparing the Toppings

So, with the scones baked, I then turned to the toppings. I used:

  • Raspberry jam
  • Pouring double cream (whipped)
Raspberry Jam and Cream
Raspberry Jam and Fresh Double Cream

Step 1: Whip the cream

I used our electric hand mixer to whip the cream:

Whipped Cream
Whipped Cream

Step 2: Top the scones

With the toppings ready, now all there was to be done was to cut the scones in half and top them with the jam and cream! As usual, Will was hovering waiting to devour them, so at this point (for the sake of our waists), I put some aside to be frozen. Here’s one of the scones cut open:

24_Open Scone
Cut-Open Scone

Next, I topped one half of the scone with raspberry jam, and one with cream:

Scones_Jam_Cream
Scone with raspberry jam and cream

As I love to take pictures, here are some more shots of the scones:

Three Scones
Close-up of Scones
Scones in a Row
Scones lined up in a row
Scones with Knife
Scones with knife in the background
Scones in Group
Scones surrounded by more scones πŸ™‚

Verdict

These scones were really delicious. Not ever having had a scone before, I think I am converted! Whilst my pictures show the scones topped with either jam or cream, we actually ate them with both jam and cream together. The batch that had been in the top portion of the oven were slightly burnt on top, but to be honest, they still tasted yummy.

Next time I would like to make the dough myself, without needing to use my glamorous assistant Will! I missed not being able to feel the elastic texture of the dough as it was forming, as it was unlike any dough either Will or I had made before. Hopefully next time my repetitive strain injury will have calmed down. I would also definitely bake the two batches one after the other to avoid getting scones with burnt tops. They all rose slightly differently too – again, I guess this could be due to their position in the oven.

As ever, I always have some questions, such as, is it okay to mix a dough together solely by stirring it with a spoon or is it better to just use your hands from the outset? What does a ‘lightly floured surface’ look like, exactly? Should you always avoid baking with two trays in the oven at the same time? And if so, is it best to always put the tray on the middle shelf? Can you open an oven mid-way through, or does this affect the rising process?

Well, now I have to decide what to bake next weekend. Watch this space! I’ve been watching Series 8 of The Great British Bake Off, and they have been baking some really intriguing things. PastΓ©is de nata, cannoli and sfogliatelle to name a few. What are you baking next?

Published by

Helena Davies

Linguist and Baker based in Cardiff, Wales.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s