If conversation is drying up at home, then few things spark a debate like the humble scone. This Friday is National Cream Tea Day so the perfect opportunity to solve some of life’s greatest conundrums: Is it ‘scone’ as in ‘gone’ or ‘scone’ as in ‘bone’? Is it jam then cream or cream then jam?
We interviewed Caroline Fuller-Rowell, owner of arguably the best Tea Rooms in the world (OK, so that might be a little subjective) to see what she has to say about such controversies. She also very kindly shared her top secret scone recipe - never previously divulged.
Jam or cream first?
I think it depends on where you come from. I believe it’s cream then jam in Devon and jam then cream in Cornwall which is what we do here in Kent.
Which jam would you recommend?
Homemade strawberry jam is delicious. Here in the Tea Rooms we make a lot of gooseberry jam from our own fruit and many people like this best. Blackcurrant is also good. Otherwise I make jam out of any fruit in season - raspberry, plum, damson - it is all lovely!
Which tea should we be drinking to wash our scones down?
People are quite particular about which tea to drink at tea-time. Assam tea is a popular choice, though many people enjoy Earl Grey or the champagne of teas, Darjeeling. Our favourite tea here is black Keemun. Loose leaf tea is always best.
The best Cream Tea is shared with friends and family on a sunny day in the garden using the best china, enjoying your own homemade scones…recipe to follow.
"A few points before you start…
Use good quality ingredients. I use Flora margarine - not “light”. It is not necessary to use butter.
Handle dough when mixing and rolling out with a light touch, working it as little as possible.
Make sure your raising agents are in date. Old ingredients do not give a good result.
Heat the oven to 200`C.
1lb (500g) plain white flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Sieve these ingredients into a mixing bowl.
1 tablespoon wholemeal flour
4oz (125g) margarine
Rub the margarine lightly into the dry ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs.
1/2 pint (300ml) milk
Mix until it all comes together into a light soft dough, then turn onto a floured board and work lightly for a moment to make a smooth ball.
Roll out the dough to a depth of 1/2 inch and cut out scones using a cutter of your choice, a 2 inch round cutter is good. Place scones on a greased baking sheet.
Paint the tops with a mixture of egg yolk and a little milk, taking care not to splash it everywhere as the scones will then stick to the tray.
Cook in oven 200`C for 11 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Eat scones the same day as baking. Serve with homemade jam and clotted or good quality whipped double cream. Freeze the scones you don’t eat on the day of baking. Defrost when you need them and then pop into a warm oven for 3 minutes.