What I mean when I say proper scones, is the sort you might find at a nice hotel that serves afternoon tea, not the enormous things sold at cafés. Not that those enormous things can’t be tasty, I just wish we had a different name for them. They are somewhere between a muffin & a scone. Muffone? Maybe not. I prefer a small, plain, tender and crumbly little vehicle for double cream and lemon curd (or in this case cranberry curd) with a cup of milky tea.
When making scones, think of biscuits. What you want is bits of cold butter throughout the dough which puff up in the oven to create soft and flaky layers. You want to keep the dough rather dry. I pat it out between sheets of plastic wrap, just as I do pie dough. This seems to help all those scraggly bits incorporate.
2 cups ap flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold (even frozen) butter, cut into cubes
½ cup buttermilk
3 tbsp sugar
optional: ¾ cup dried currants
Preheat oven to 425º. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to incorporate and get rid of any lumps. Cut in the butter. You can do this with a pastry cutter, two forks, or just rub it between your fingers until the whole thing resembles coarse meal. If using currants, now would be the time to stir them in. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a crumbly dough is formed. You may need just a tiny bit more buttermilk to bring it all together, but add only a tiny bit, the dough should never feel wet. Now dump it out on the counter. You may wish to do this on a large sheet of plastic wrap, which helps to form it into a round, and keeps you from needing to flour the board. The dough is dry enough as it is. Either roll or pat the dough into an 8″ round. At his point either use a 2 to 3 inch cutter for round scones, or simply cut the 8″ round into 8 wedges. Place your scones on a lined baking sheet, brush the tops with cream, buttermilk, or egg wash, whichever is handy. Sprinkle a little sugar on top if you can be bothered. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden. Eat immediately with double cream and lemon curd. Being the fortunate recipient of some cranberry curd for Christmas, I have used it in place of the more usual lemon curd.