VANILLA BEAN SCONES

PREP + COOK TIME 40 MIN­UTES MAKES 16

The Australian Women’s Weekly Food Magazine - - Cook The Cover -

2½ cups (375g) self−rais­ing flour 1 ta­ble­spoon caster su­gar

30g but­ter, chopped

¾ cup (180ml) milk, plus ex­tra, to glaze ½ cup (125ml) wa­ter

1 vanilla bean

300ml thick­ened cream

2 ta­ble­spoons ic­ing su­gar

¾ cup (240g) straw­berry jam

250g straw­ber­ries, sliced thinly

1 Pre­heat oven to 220°C/200°C fan. Grease a 22cm square cake pan.

2 Sift flour and caster su­gar into a large bowl; us­ing fin­ger­tips, rub in but­ter. Make a well at cen­tre.

3 Com­bine milk and the wa­ter in a medium jug. Split the vanilla bean in half length­ways; scrape seeds into milk mix­ture, dis­card bean

(or save for an­other use). Add milk mix­ture to flour mix­ture. Us­ing a round−bladed knife, in a cut­ting mo­tion, mix the milk mix­ture through the flour mix­ture to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn dough out onto a floured sur­face; knead gen­tly un­til smooth.

4 Press dough out to a 20cm square; cut into 16 squares us­ing a floured knife. Place squares, just touch­ing, in pan. Brush tops with a lit­tle ex­tra milk. Bake scones for 20 min­utes or un­til browned and scones sound hol­low when tapped firmly on the top with your fin­gers.

5 Mean­while, beat the cream and half the sifted ic­ing su­gar in a small bowl with an elec­tric mixer un­til soft peaks form.

6 Sand­wich warm scones with jam, straw­ber­ries and sweet­ened cream. Serve scones dusted with the re­main­ing sifted ic­ing su­gar.

1 RUB­BING-IN BUT­TER

Usu­ally only a small amount of but­ter is added to scone dough. It should be fridge−cold and diced or coarsely grated, then rubbed into the flour us­ing your fin­ger­tips.

2 ADDING THE LIQ­UID

Add as much of the liq­uid as you need to make a soft, sticky dough. Some­times you need even more liq­uid, de­pend­ing on how the flour ab­sorbs the liq­uid. Use a flat−bladed knife to “cut” the liq­uid through the dry in­gre­di­ents un­til it comes to­gether.

3 TURN­ING DOUGH OUT

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured sur­face, us­ing ei­ther a plas­tic spat­ula or your hand. (Pour cold wa­ter into the bowl and leave to soak, for eas­ier wash­ing−up later.) If your fin­gers are sticky with dough, dry−clean them, away from the scone dough, by rub­bing them with flour.

4 SHAP­ING THE DOUGH

Turn the dough smooth−side up, then pat it out evenly, work­ing from the cen­tre to the out­side edge. Keep the dough an even thick­ness – there’s al­ways a ten­dency to press the dough out too thinly on the edge, leav­ing a hump in the mid­dle. If you’re mak­ing a large amount of dough, use a floured rolling pin for this process.

5 CUT­TING OUT

Use a sharp metal cut­ter for the best re­sults. We cut shapes out, start­ing from the cen­tre of the dough and work­ing to­wards the out­side edge, but many cham­pion scone−mak­ers work in re­verse, so try both ways. Lift the scone shapes into the pre­pared pan, then po­si­tion them so they’re barely touch­ing each other.

6 GLAZ­ING

The pur­pose of glaz­ing is to brush away any ex­cess flour, and to draw the heat from the oven to the scones to brown the tops. Egg yolk will give the dark­est colour, wa­ter the palest fin­ish, while milk will give a good mid­dle−of−the−road colour.

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