VANILLA BEAN SCONES
PREP + COOK TIME 40 MINUTES MAKES 16
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.
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.