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Nicola Lamb’s Earl Grey Scones

Nicola Lamb's failsafe recipe for scones produces light, towering scones gently flavoured with Earl Grey. Serve with your favourite jam.

Introduction

I think people often fear scones – we’ve been told so many times to avoid overworking the dough for fear of producing rocks, but please don’t be scared to work the dough. I think most errors actually come from underworking! Your enemy is dry bits and I promise these won’t be heavy – there’s plenty of raising agents in there to lighten things up.

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Ingredients

For the egg wash:
100g (about 2) whole eggs
1g (about ⅛ tsp) fine salt
For the scones:
220g plain flour
6g (about 2 teabags) Earl Grey, finely ground
30g caster sugar
16g (about 4 tsp) baking powder
2g (about ⅓ tsp) fine salt
75g butter, cold
130g crème fraîche
Plus:
Crème fraîche
Raspberry rhubarb jam (see page 335 of SIFT)
Stewed plums (see page 155 of SIFT)

Essential kit

You will need: a 6.5cm round or fluted cutter.

Method

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Make your egg wash – whisk the eggs and fine salt together for at least 20 minutes before using so the eggs break down. (This can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the plain flour, Earl Grey, caster sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined.

Cut the cold butter into small, 1–2cm pieces, then rub into the flour mixture using your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, about 5 minutes.

Add the crème fraîche to the mixture and stir until just combined. You can use a round-bladed knife to cut through the dough to stir it together.

Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and transfer the dough onto it. Knead the dough gently by folding it over on itself several times until it is smooth and no dry bits remain, about 1 minute or so. Then, using a rolling pin or your palms, flatten it into a 2.5cm thick dough. You want to make sure the dough is evenly combined and there are no dry bits or areas where the dough isn’t in one piece, otherwise it will split open during baking.

Using a 6.5cm round or fluted cutter, cut out scones decisively from the dough and place them upside down on the prepared baking tray. You can re-roll the scraps. They often turn out a bit oddly shaped but are still very delicious.

Rest the scones for about 20 minutes whilst you preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C fan.

Brush the tops of the scones with a little egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 12–14 minutes or until they are golden brown. They should be towering. Once baked, remove the scones from the oven and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool. Serve with crème fraîche, jam and plums.

Store for 2 days in an airtight container, though you will lose crispness.

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