English Tea for Mother’s Day

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My mom had three boys before she had me. So when I was born, she really played up the little girl card. I wore velvet dresses to everything until I was twelve. I took ballet classes. I had a purple room full of dolls and miniature tea sets which we would use to have tea parties. My mom has a serious love for tea. She would take me to tea rooms when I was little and we would have cucumber sandwiches and pots and pots of our favorite apricot tea. After I graduated high school my mom and I took a very special trip together which found us sitting in the quaintest imaginable tea room in the English countryside. It doesn’t get any better. We were swept inside off the damp streets by the wafting aroma of baking scones.

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Scones are tricky little things. Firstly there are two main varieties: American and English. American scones are like the kind you get at a coffee shop, usually filled with some kind of fruit or chocolate (shudders) and topped with glaze. They have a lot of butter in them and usually are pretty sweet. I’m not a massive fan. English scones are like a cross between an American scone and a biscuit. They usually have less butter and if there’s anything in them at all it’s raisins or currants. Some are sweeter than others but they are usually topped with clotted cream and jam so you get most of the sweetness you need from the condiments.

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How hard would it be to make one? Very hard. Over the last week I’ve tried five or six recipes and they all yielded wildly different interpretations of the same thing. Some had sugar, some had no sugar. Some had butter and cream, butter and buttermilk, butter and eggs, you name it. Some used baking soda to rise, some baking powder or self-raising flour. It seemed like infinite combinations and after the last batch looked and tasted like hockey pucks I knew I needed to find a solid source and get on with my life.

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I ended up using the Traditional English Scones recipe from the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of Bake from Scratch. These had the most sugar of all the recipes I tried and I definitely like that, they came closest to what I had in that glorious English tearoom. I feel like my search for the quintessential scone is not quite over, but I’m happy to stop here for now.

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In reality, agonizing over scone recipes for a week seems pretty inconsequential when I think of all that my mom has done for me. Words can’t really do it justice. It boggles my mind how much work goes into raising a kid; she raised four and still managed to make things fun. Mom, if you’re reading this, I know how lucky I am to have you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Scones + Raspberry Curd

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Traditional English Scones 

  • 2 3/4 c. plain/cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. + 1 tbs. whole milk
  • 3 eggs, one for egg wash

Preheat oven to 390°. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Rub in butter with your fingertips. Add sugar. Make a well in the center of the dough and add the milk and 2 eggs. Stir together until a wet dough forms. Turn dough out on heavily floured surface. (You’ll need quite a bit of flour, the dough is very wet). Gently work in additional flour until dough comes together. Pat dough into a 1-inch high disk. Use a well-floured round cookie or biscuit cutter to stamp out scones. Place onto parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Recipe via Bake from Scratch

Raspberry Curd

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 tbs. butter, diced
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  • zest of one lemon
  • pint of raspberries

Purée raspberries in food processor and strain through a fine sieve to remove seeds, set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, egg yolks, salt, butter, lemon juice and zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture starts to simmer and thicken. The curd is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon and sliding your finger across it leaves a valley. Take off heat and whisk in raspberry puree. Let cool and then place plastic wrap directly on curd, transfer to fridge to chill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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