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Scones!........And clotted cream (see post 13)!

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IrishLass

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I'm so happy that I just wanted to share that my quest for a great British-type scone recipe is over and that I finally found my scone nirvana!

I've never been to Britain, but for a short period of time in my teenage years I lived near a bakery owned and operated by a couple of British ex-pats, and my mom would often stop by there after work and buy some of their scones to bring home.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I fell in love with those currant-studded scones and I've always wanted to re-create them in my kitchen, but success has always eluded me until just this past weekend when I happened upon a Cook's Illustrated recipe entitled 'British-Style Scones with Currants'. It looked promising, so I gave it a try (with a few tweaks), and WOW! Them's be the scones!!!

Without much further ado, here be the Cook's Illustrated recipe (with a few slight tweaks made by me):

Oh- before I begin, I just wanted to point out that I used King Arthur's all-purpose unbleached flour, which has a protein content of 11.7%.

-3 cups (15oz./425g) all purpose flour
-1/3 cup (2.5oz./71g) sugar
-2 tablespoons (1 oz./29g) double-acting baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt if you are using salted butter. If using unsalted butter, use 1/2 teaspoon salt instead. I used salted butter and reduced my salt amount.
-8 tablespoons (1/2 cup/4 oz./113g) butter
-1/4 cup (40g) raisins, chopped (the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup dried currants, which I thought sounded a bit too excessive for my tastes. My tweak worked perfectly for me.
-1 cup (8 oz./227g) whole milk
-2 large eggs (mine weighed a total of 102g for what it's worth)

Prep:
1)
Cube the butter and let it sit at room temp. for about 1/2 hour to soften. (yes, you heard me right- we want softened butter for this)
2) Adjust your oven rack to the upper middle position and preheat it to 500 degreesF/260C
3) Line a 13" x 18" (33cm x 45.7cm) baking sheet with parchment paper
4) Weigh out the milk and whisk the 2 eggs into it until well-combined, then remove 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a separate small bowl (to brush the top of the scones with later before baking) Set aside.
5) Chop your raisins (if using), or measure out your currants and set aside.
6) Into a food processor (or into a large bowl if you don't have a food processor), weigh out/add together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Directions:
A)
If using the processor, give the flour mixture about 5 pulses on high to combine. If using a bowl, combine the flour mixture well with a wire whisk.
B) Adding the softened butter: If using the processor, toss the butter on top of the flour mixture and pulse about 20 times or until there is no longer any visible pieces of butter left. The mixture should resemble uniformly fine, pale yellow, powdery sand. If not using a processor, the best way to mix in the butter is either by using a pastry cutter or even better- just use your hands/fingertips. Whatever you do, just don't stop mixing until all the butter is incorporated and you have what looks like uniformly fine, pale yellow, powdery sand.
c) If you used a processor, transfer the 'sand' to a large mixing bowl and stir in the chopped raisins or the currants. If you used a large bowl to begin with, keep the sand where it is just toss in the chopped raisins or currants and mix them in.
D) Adding the milk/egg mixture: Whilst stirring with a blunt knife or a spatula (I used a blunt knife), pour the milk/egg mixture (minus the 2 tbsp you set aside in a small bowl) into the flour/raisin mixture and continue strirring just until no dry bits are left.
E) Flour your hands and your workspace, then dump the fairly wet dough onto your well-floured workspace and gather into a ball.
F) Next, you are going to do the most scandalalous, unthinkable thing to your scone dough. You are actually going to knead it with your floured hands until the surface is smooth and free of cracks, about 25 to 30 times (it took 30 gentle kneads for me to get it smooth and crack-free).
G) Gently press the dough into a disk shape and then roll out into a 1" thick x 9" round. Make sure you don't roll it too flat. It needs to be no less than 1".
H) Using a 2.5" round cutter, press swiftly and directly straight down into the dough (don't use a twisting motion as you're going down). Only when you've hit rock-bottom can you hazard a twist- but only a very slight twist to merely release the scone and cutter from the main body of dough. Place it on your lined baking sheet, then stamp out as many rounds in like manner as you can, placing them gently onto your parchment-lined baking sheet as you go.
I) Gather up the remaining dough scraps into a ball and roll out to 1", and stamp out as many more scones as you can until all the dough is used up, and place them on your baking sheet. The last 1 or 2 scones may need to be hand-shaped. I ended up with 15 perfectly shaped scones and 2 oddballs, for a total of 17 scones.
J) Brush the tops of the scones with the set-aside milk/egg mixture. Make sure to only brush the very tops of the scones so that none runs down the sides of your scones, or else it may interfere with the oven rise (so I hear). By the way, I did not need to use all of my egg/milk mixture. I had plenty leftover, so don't worry about running low.
K) Place the scone-laden baking sheet in the oven, turn the temp down to 425F/218C and bake 10 to 12 minutes, making sure to rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking. Mine took 11 minutes, by the way.
L) Transfer the hot scones to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes before eating.
M) Once completely cool, any left-over scones that you don't eat can be wrapped and frozen. To serve, just unwrap and re-heat in a 300F/149C oven for 15 minutes (directly from the freezer).

My scones (they came out so incredibly soft, light and fluffy):

IMG_3045FreshFromOvenScones2015.JPG

Oh and to top things off (quite literally!), I also came up with a mock Devonshire/clotted cream recipe, based on having read a smattering of British cooking blogs into the wee hours of the morning. I've never tasted real clotted cream, so I didn't have anything concrete to base it on except for other's descriptions, so I hope those of you who are British don't judge my efforts too harshly. For what it's worth, it tastes great to me and my hubby and son:

My faux clotted cream (this makes a scant cup):

-3 oz./85g mascarpone cheese.
-3 oz./ 85g heavy cream (35% fat)
-14g (1 tbsp) softened butter (I used Kerry Gold brand, salted- it's all I had on hand).
-1 smidge (1/32 tsp.) vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp. caster sugar

In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk the butter with a small whisk to lighten it up a bit, and then whisk in the mascarpone until smooth and fluffy. Next, whisk in about 1 tbsp. of the heavy cream until nice and fluffy, then lightly whisk in the remaining cream, the vanilla and the sugar until the consistency is thick, but of a slightly loose/flowing/soft-peak nature. In other words, don't whisk the cream so hard that the cream becomes too stiff. Place in a covered jar and store in fridge.

I know it's against mock clotted cream protocol- at least from what I hear if you want to make it taste as close to the real thing as possible- but I find that adding those very small amounts of sugar and vanilla (and even the tiny bit of salt from the salted butter) adds a nice, very subtle hint of flavor that keeps it from being too bland/1-dimensional, but without going overboard.

Here's a pic (I guess I would feel at home in Cornwall since I found out that I prefer putting the jam on first instead of the cream, lol):


IMG_3046SconesClottedCreamJam2015.JPG


IrishLass :)
 
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galaxyMLP

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I'm not going to lie and say that I read all of it but I read enough to know that I will be trying this some day! They look so yummy and I looove me some scones. Your pictures are so pretty and from what I read you give detailed instructions. :) sorry if you're mad that I didn't read it all! I will before I make them of course!
 

clairissa

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OMG! They look fabulous! I will definitely have to try that recipe. Thanks for posting.
 

jules92207

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Oh Irish, those look incredible! Scones is definitely on my to do list, thanks for the instructions!
 

Relle

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Lovely looking scones IL. I make scones quite a bit and use a recipe from my Commonsense Cookbook from school.

2 cups SR Flour
2 tblsps butter
Pinch salt
Milk

Sieve flour, rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add enough milk to bring it altogether. Knead and press dough out with hand the thickness for a scone. Cut out with scone cutter brush tops with milk and put on a greased tray just touching each other and bake for 15 mins at 450F.
 

shunt2011

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Those look and sound awesome. I love scones and make the several times a year. I'll be trying these this weekend. Thank you for sharing!!
 

kchaystack

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My partner is a Brit. He is always going on about when he visits we need to have a cream tea.

According to what I have researched, making clotted cream is as easy as taking fresh heavy cream, and putting it into a shallow dish and setting it in a oven at its lowest setting over night. It should make a butter like substance. But it only lasts a day or 2 before going bad, so eat fast!

The problem is that you can not use ultra pasteurized cream. Which is what you get in most groceries. I have found a local co-op that sells from a local dairy, tho so this is on my things to try.
 

soapswirl

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Mmm scones! As a resident in the west country I can say your scones certainly look the part! And yes jam before cream! I can't get my head around the mascarpone clotted cream though!
 

gemsupthepoley

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I've never really put much thought into it. I made them as a bairn with my mum. She still makes them regularly and they're just scones!!!:p I did try and make them a few years back and it was a disaster! I don't have the lightest of hands for baking.
Fresh home made scones with butter and home made jam and of course a wee dram.
 

Saponista

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Scones!

I'm in the west country to soap swirl. Can't beat a Devonshire cream tea. Mmmmmmm

In Devon it's cream before jam though. ;)

You could try the same recipe and add grated cheese irishlass. I love a buttered cheese scone.
 
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IrishLass

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Thank you all! Let me know if any of you make them!

Saponista- a cheese version slathered in butter sounds awesome!

I actually had to make another batch yesterday (how utterly sad), because we munched our way right through that first batch in no time! But this time I added a bit of whole wheat flour to them (1 cup whole wheat flour to 2 cups of the all-purpose flour), and they came out just as lovely! I didn't change anything else in the recipe, except for the flour used for dusting my workspace- I didn't need to use as much of it to keep things from sticking to my counter as I needed to use with my 100% all-purpose batch.

According to what I have researched, making clotted cream is as easy as taking fresh heavy cream, and putting it into a shallow dish and setting it in a oven at its lowest setting over night. It should make a butter like substance. But it only lasts a day or 2 before going bad, so eat fast!

The problem is that you can not use ultra pasteurized cream. Which is what you get in most groceries. I have found a local co-op that sells from a local dairy, tho so this is on my things to try.
I'm so glad you brought this up, because I actually just finished making some of the real stuff....well, as real as one can get in the States with our anemic cream that contains only 35% butterfat. lol

I made it out of 1-pint (16oz.) organic pasteurized whipping cream with 35% butterfat that I found at WholeFoods (made by Straus Family Creamery). It was the only one I could find around here that wasn't ultra-pasteurized.

This YouTube video gave me the inspiration and courage to try making it: [ame]
I watched it several times and read all the comments below it at least twice before diving in.
If anyone from the US is wondering if it's possible to make it with our skimpy 35% butterfatted cream, I'm living proof that it can be done. You might not get the same yield that a cream with 55% butterfat will give you, but you will get plenty enough to enjoy nevertheless. My yield from my pint of cream was enough to almost fill a pint jar (it was about 1.5" or so shy of the rim).

How I did it: I pretty much followed the instructions on the video, but made a few minor temperature tweaks along the way.

To start, I poured my cream into an 8" x 8" glass baking dish, and placed it (uncovered) into my preheated 180 degreeF oven just a couple of hours before going to bed. Everything I've read said it needs to bake for 12 hours, so I thought I'd let it do most of it's thing overnight.

When I was headed off to bed two hours later, I checked on it and saw that a thin, pale yellow crust was beginning to form, and it was very slightly bubbling underneath. I was very happy to see the crust forming, but the bubbling part concerned me and warned me my oven was too hot. Since I didn't want to wake up in the morning to burnt cream, I switched my oven over to its 'Warming' feature and turned the temp down to 165 degreesF, set a piece of foil to lightly rest on top of the dish, and then I went to bed.

I checked on it 8 hours later when I got out of bed and it looked quite lovely- there was a nice pale yellow crust on top with rivulets of melted butter interspersed here and there over it, and below the crust I could see that it was quite liquid and milky, but no bubbling (yay!). The video comments said this was quite normal, so I didn't overly worry myself about how fluid it looked under the crust, although I confess that I did experience a little anxiety at how thin the crust was.

By now it had been baking for 10 hours, and I wanted the crust to lightly caramelize around the edges before taking it out, so I uncovered the dish and increased the temp back up to 180F, since I was now awake and could keep my eye on it and turn the heat down if things got too hot again.

Two hours and 20 minutes later (for a total of 12 hours and 20 minutes) the edges of my crust took on really nice caramelized/light golden hue. I then removed the dish to the counter to cool to room temp. Once it was completely cool, I covered it and placed it in the fridge for about 7 hours to 'set up'.

I gotta say, I was somewhat anxious about things when I put it in the fridge, because the crust was thin and it was very fluid/milky underneath, but the comments under the video helped to re-assure me that all of that was fine/normal, and I felt encouraged to pay no mind to the fluidity and to just forge ahead nevertheless.

Seven hours later I was rewarded for following that sage advice, for underneath that crust was a lovely bunch of creamy goodness...as well as a fair bit of milky whey:

IMG_3051ClottedCreamII640.JPG


The chef guy in the video wrote in the comments section to just mix them both up together, so that's what I did, and then I put it in a pint canning jar and placed it in the fridge overnight. Results:

IMG_3066WWSconesRealClottedCream.JPG

The texture is soft and somewhat fluffy, and very rich and creamy, with a bit of graininess from the crust interspersed throughout (those 'bumps' that you see are parts of the crust).

I could hardly wait to taste it so that I could compare it to my faux version. Verdict? The texture of the real thing (except for the bit of graininess from the bits of the crust) is spot on with my faux version, but I'll definitely need to tweak the taste of the faux version to better match the real. First, I'll need to omit the vanilla from the faux altogether. And as for the sugar, I'll keep it, but I'll need to heat it in a pan first to slightly caramelize it, and then I'll add only about 1/2 of my original amount to it. Oh- and I'll also have to increase the butter amount some to give it more of a buttery flavor (I think I'll start with a tbsp. more and tweak from there).

I must say, the taste of the real stuff is awesome! It has such a wonderful flavor combo of butter and cream (I can definitely taste both individual flavors in there), and it has a very lovely, subtle, caramelized sweetness to it. It's quite yummy!

Would I make it again? In a heartbeat! :-o


IrishLass :)
 
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IrishLass

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In Devon it's cream before jam though. ;)
Apparently, that's the way Dr. Who eats them, too. lol We were watching an episode of Dr. Who last night with Matt Smith as the doctor. He was in a tea room just about to take a bite of his scone when a mysterious, hooded creature interrupted him, and he put it back down on his plate. I couldn't help myself- I just had to see how the clotted cream and jam were situated on his scone.... It was cream on the bottom, jam on top. :p

You might be interested (and happy) to know that my son had a proper Devon-style scone this morning. I watched him put his cream on the bottom and the jam on top. lol


IrishLass :)
 

reinbeau

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I've had real clotted cream when I was in southwestern England years ago - and it is truly to die for. I've got to try these recipes (both the scones & the clotted cream)!
 

IrishLass

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I'm going to do something wild and crazy- I'm going try making clotted cream using ultra-pasteurized cream. I was reading/researching on the interwebs last night and I came across a comment underneath somebody's blog that suggested adding a little calcium chloride to the ultra-pasteurized cream before heating it. Lo and behold- I just so happen to have some on hand from my cheese-making endeavors (I like to make my own mascarpone). Calcium is what helps cream/milk to be able to set a curd, and it (the naturally occurring calcium) gets a bit messed up under ultra-pasteurization, so many cheese-makers who can't find anything but ultra-pasteurized milk/cream will add back the calcium in the form of calcium chloride to help things set up (at the rate of 1/2 tsp. per gallon). So that is what I am going to try to do today/tonight. I'll let y'all know how it goes!


IrishLass :)
 
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not_ally

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OMG, clotted cream. I didn't click on this link until I saw that, IL, I can eat that stuff out of the jar (which is pretty much all you can buy in the States), if I make it to a ripe old age I will eat tons of tons of it and hope I die with a spoonful in my hand and a smile on my face. You evil woman, I am craving scones with clotted cream and jam now.
 

Rowan

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I love scones and clotted cream so much. I could eat them every day! I live on the south coast and agree with Saponista, cream first and then jam! One of my best friends and I pop out to a a place near Lewes where they have the best scones and cotted cream. It's to die for. If anyone is visiting Southern England you'll have to pop in and we'll go out for scones and talk soap!

I can't wait to try Irish Lass's recipe. Your scones look amazing and I loove new recipes.
 

IrishLass

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Well, my experiment with clotted cream using ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream with a 35% butterfat didn't turn out half bad (a lot better than I had hoped, actually)........ 12.6 oz./358g of my original 32 oz. amount of heavy cream turned into excellent clotty goodness; almost 3 oz. evaporated off; and 16.45 oz./467g remained a milky liquid that was the consistency of creamy whole milk (which I will use to make more scones). This is the creamy goodness that greeted me this morning as I started skimming it off the top:
IMG_3079UHTClottedCream640.JPG


And this is what it looked like once I had separated all the clotty goodness away from the liquid milky part and gave things a stir:
IMG_3090UHTClottedCreamII640.JPG



And this is what it looked like sitting atop a nicely warmed scone (notice I slathered it on both ways, lol ):
IMG_3098UHTClottedCreamV640.JPG


So, using ultra-pasteurized need not be a total bust if you add a little calcium chloride to the cream beforehand. The yield might not be as high as when using just regular pasteurized, but there's plenty enough for the whole family to enjoy, and the leftover liquid can be used to make a couple of batches of scones- win/win!

By the way, I used 1 quart of UP heavy whipping cream and 1/8 tsp. liquid calcium chloride that I bought online from New England Cheesemakers, although I hear that you can also buy the calcium chloride from home-brewing supply stores.

I baked the cream uncovered in an 8" x 8" baking dish in my oven @ 180F/82C for 2 hours, turned the oven down to 165F/74C when I went to bed, and then turned it back up to 180F/82C about 8 hours later when I got up, and continued baking 6 hours more (for a total of 16 hours). It was uncovered the whole time. I baked this one longer than my first batch because it took that long for the crust of this batch to get to a nice golden color.

I then cooled it down to room temp on my counter (lightly covered over the dish with cheesecloth), and then once it was completely cooled down, I refrigerated (covered with foil) for about 13 hours.


IrishLass :)
 
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Rowan

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OMG, I'm so hungry right now. They look absolutely gorgeous!
 

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