Ever since I was hooked on to Enid Blyton’s books I have always been fascinated by the English routine for evening tea. There is something really charming about cucumber sandwiches, cookies, scones with jam and cream all washed down with a cup of tea that’s got just a pinch of sugar and a splash of milk. How lovely!
So it was one of those Saturday afternoons when I knew I had to bake. These are usually the best part of my Saturdays – because by the time it is Friday my battery is drained out with the whole work-home routine and Saturday is when I totally recharge and destress myself by cooking an elaborate dinner and going on a baking spree. The husband doesn’t complain. The house always smells awesome when guests drop in for dinner on Saturday. And we often have enough goodies that can see us through a lazy Sunday. So it is a win-win situation.
What I loved about these Irish Buttermilk Scones is that they are really light and have a beautiful texture. I flavoured these with lemon zest so it gave that heavenly aroma while baking. We had these with some of the homemade strawberry jam that I’d made. Delicious! And yes, with a cup of tea too!
Irish Buttermilk Scones
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/2 cup of buttermilk (1/2 cup of milk, add 1/2 tsp of white vinegar to this, mix and let is stand for a while)
3 tbsp of butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1/2 tsp of freshly grated lemon zest
To glaze the scones
4 tbsp of milk
2 tbsp of sugar
Sift the wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda thrice. When you’re done, place the bowl in the fridge and allow it to chill for about 15-20 mins.
After the flour mixture has chilled well take it out and rub in the cold butter into this. Continue to do this until it resembles damp sand. Now slowly pour in the buttermilk, add the vanilla essence and lemon zest, slowly bring the dough together. It should be a little sticky.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface with gentle movements, use a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut out individual portions of the scones. Repeat this till all the dough is over.
Place the portions on a greased baking tray, glaze with the milk and sprinkle the sugar over them. Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes or until the scones are done, you will know this when they have risen and changed colour to a beautiful golden brown. Remove from the oven, allow them to cool down and serve with the jam and cream.
* Triple sifting is a must, this is the first step to ensuring that you have light, fluffy scones.
* If your dough is sticky, don’t worry too much because that’s the way it should be. The moisture helps to achieve the right texture.
* I’ve flavoured the scones with lemon zest because that’s a flavour we enjoy. You can make them plain or add some nuts or even some cinnamon/all-spice powder to the dough.