Authentic Devon Scones
If you’re ever on holiday in Devon, in the southwest of England, you absolutely have to have a Devonshire cream tea! You get a pot of hot tea (English Breakfast, Earl Grey, whatever kind you want) along with freshly baked scones, jam (usually strawberry but sometimes raspberry and blackcurrant are also offered) and clotted cream. There is nothing else on Earth quite like authentic Devon scones, and for good reason too. These tasty, crumbly scones are not too sweet and not too savoury. They are topped with rich, thick clotted cream and then sweet strawberry jam. Hot tea goes perfectly with them.
Perhaps you’re reading this thinking ‘wait a minute, clotted cream is Cornish, isn’t it? What’s the difference between Devon cream tea and Cornish cream tea?’ Well if you ask someone from Devon or Cornwall they will have very strong opinions that their method is correct! However, the scones and tea are the same – it’s just about how they are prepared, either cream first and then jam, or jam first and then cream. It is much disputed there!
In Devon it’s cream first and then jam because the cream spreads easier on the scones than on the jam. In Cornwall it’s never, ever cream first – the cream goes on top! I suggest you make these scones and try both ways to see which you like best. Eat these scones the day you make them or freeze then thaw for a few hours and refresh them for 10 minutes in a warm oven.
- 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
- 450g (1 lb) self-raising flour (self-rising flour)
- 75g (3 oz) butter, at room temperature
- 50g (2 oz) caster sugar
- 225 ml (8 fl oz) milk
- 2 eggs
- Clotted cream
- Strawberry jam
- Grease a pair of baking trays.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F).
- Put the baking powder and flour in a food processor with the butter.
- Process until crumbly.
- If you don't have a food processor, you can rub the butter in with your fingers.
- Stir in the sugar.
- Next beat the eggs and then add enough milk to make 300ml (½ pint) in total.
- You might not need all the milk.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture for glazing the uncooked scones later.
- Now you can add the egg mixture gradually to the dry ingredients to make a soft dough.
- The dough should be quite wet (it is fine if it sticks to your fingers) so it rises better in the oven.
- Flatten the dough on a lightly floured worktop with your hand or a rolling pin.
- You need to get it 1 or 2cm (½ or ¾ inch) thick.
- Cut out 20 scones using a 5cm (2 inch) fluted cutter.
- You will need to reroll the dough a few times so you can use it all.
- Some people prefer to make 10 large scones instead, and that is also fine.
- Now arrange your scones on the baking trays you greased earlier.
- Brush the reserved egg mixture over the tops.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the scones are golden brown and well risen.
- Depending on your oven this might only take 10 - 12 minutes, so watch them.
- Arrange the hot scones on a wire rack and cover with a clean tea towel so they don't dry out.
- Let them cool, then serve cut in half, spread with clotted cream and then jam.
Home-baked English scones, thick clotted cream spread luxuriously on top and then sweet strawberry jam – can you think of a more delicious snack? This recipe makes 20 scones, although you could make 10 large ones instead. Don’t handle the mixture too much before baking for the best result. Another tip is to stamp out the dough by pushing the cutter straight through the dough rather than twisting it, because the dough is a bit wet. This will give you nice neat scones which keep their shape and rise evenly. Serve your homemade scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, as well as copious amounts of hot tea to wash them down!
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