Tag Archives: tradition

Tea Scones

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Whenever I think of  fresh scones still warm from the oven, I think of home.This recipe is one my Mother has made all through my childhood ( and still does when I am back visiting) and can be made plain or with added raisins or currants. It yields about ten small sized scones (with a teensy bit of dough left over, that when I was very little was always made into a ‘mini’ tea scone for my Care Bear, Poppy ☺ and scoffed by me of course)

I personally like mine with real butter and jam (easy always on hand ingredients) whilst they are still slightly warm YUM! But as the scone is the main component of a ‘Cream tea’ or ‘Devonshire tea’  it probably should be served with clotted cream, jam and tea.  A delicious afternoon treat you can find in tea rooms up and down the UK, but especially in the South West of England. I had my first ‘Cream tea’ about two years ago in the Cotswolds one sunny Sunday with himself, and it was simply gorgeous. I wish we had the tea room tradition in Ireland – being avid tea drinkers ourselves and scone lovers too!

Makes 10 Scones

Ingredients:

8 oz / 225g Plain flour

1 tsp  baking powder

2 oz /  55g butter / margarine chopped up & at room temperature – plus a bit for greasing.

1 oz /25g caster sugar

2-4 tbsp of milk

1 free-range egg

(a squeeze of lemon juice if desired to slightly sour the milk for a more ‘buttermilk’ flavour)

Utensils:

A baking sheet, mixing bowl, rolling pin, hand whisk,  2 inch /5 cm cutter, a pastry brush & wire rack.

* Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/ 425°F /220°C

Method:

Sift the flour into the bowl and add the baking powder.

Next rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and stir in the sugar.

Beat the milk and egg together separately using the whisk and  add it slowly to your mixture keeping back a little for glazing.

Mix together and finish off using your hands. The sides of the bowl should be clean. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If too dry add some more milk, a teaspoon at a time.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Flour the rolling pin and roll out the dough until it is approx  3/4 inch / 2 cm in thickness.

Using the cutter, stamp out (do not twist) rounds until you have used up all of the dough.

Place the rounds onto the greased tin and glaze with the left-over milk/egg mixture before baking for approx 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown in colour & well risen.

Cool for approx 5 minutes on a wire rack before serving with a good jam/butter/clotted cream a freshly brewed pot of tea (preferably Irish tea ☺) …& Enjoy!


Mince Pies

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Christmas in California prompted the start of what has become my ‘Baking Buzz’  for 2011. Americans don’t eat mince pies (!) I know. I couldn’t believe it either. Imagine with all the Irish & British living over here, you think it would have caught on by now! I think I need to start a trend. Mince pies are a necessity (for me) during the holidays & rightly so – what on earth would Santa think come Christmas Eve?! Served on their own or with cream/custard/ice-cream they really are simply scrumptious.

I was home two weeks before Crimbo so stocked up on a few jars of ‘Chivers Mincemeat’ (which is basically a fruit preserve (v) for those who have never heard/seen or tasted it. You can make this yourself  but at home you can get in in jars for handiness!) and brought them back bubble-wrapped safely in my luggage. They did cause suspicion mind and one jar was unwrapped and inspected at customs along with my Lyons tea stash. Blank faces then approved my sneaky food supplies, (phew!) they had already moved on to a Swedish lady with a huge salami (now that’s definitely meat).

And so the recipe goes

Serves 12

Ingredients:

100g / 3 1/2 oz  butter – plus a tiny bit extra for greasing.

200g / 7 oz plain flour – plus extra for dusting

25g / 1 oz icing sugar – plus extra for dusting

1 egg yolk

2-3 tablespoons of milk – plus extra for glazing

300g / 10 1/2 oz mincemeat

Utensils:

A Tartlet tin (mine was a 12-hole one) , two fluted cutters  (3 inch & 2 1/2 inch), a pastry brush & rolling pin

*Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4   & grease your tin well with the ‘extra’ butter*

Method:

Sift the flour into a bowl & then using you fingertips, rub in the remaining butter until your mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar & egg yolk. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface & knead lightly until smooth.

Roll your dough into a smooth ball & roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Use the bigger (3 inch) cutter to to cut out 12 rounds (flouring the cutters in between each round) and line the tartlet  tin making little cases.

Half-fill each ‘case’ with mincemeat. Cut out a further 12 rounds from the  remaining dough using the smaller (2 1/2 inch) cutter to make lids for your pies. Using the pastry brush, glaze each lid before placing on top of each pie.

Bake in  the preheated oven for 15-20 mins until the pastry is a golden colour (times may vary depending on your oven )

Remove from the oven & cool on a wire rack. Don’t forget to dust with the ‘extra’ icing sugar before serving.

Christmas 2010