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My friend Karen was celebrating a birthday and I wanted to do something special for her.  Seeing as she is a huge fan of everything British, I planned a morning of tea, scones, jam and clotted cream.  Coming across clotted cream around here isn’t an easy task, and is quite expensive if you do.  As Karen stepped into my kitchen and saw the freshly baked scones, she teasingly asked, “And where’s the clotted cream?”.  To which I replied, “It’s in the fridge, but I’m not sure it’s ready… I’ve never had it before.”  Astonished, Karen replied that she was only joking.  Well, clearly I wasn’t.

After much perusing of various scone recipes, I settled on one from the New Zealand Women’s Weekly.  Why?  One look at this video and you’ll understand.  Annabelle White is so enthusiastic and excited about these scones, she is over-the-top cute!  I fell in love with her!  Oh, and the fact that these scones looked oh so fast and simple to make.  Or perhaps it’s the kiwi accent!

The original recipe can be found here, but I altered it by omitting the dried fruit and adding 1/4 of sugar instead.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 80g of semi-frozen butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

The trick to baking these scones, apparently, is using frozen butter and grating it into the flour, and handling the dough as little as possible with your hands, using a knife to mix all the ingredients together.  The knife saves overworking the gluten and produces a lighter scone.  It makes a rather wet dough, but that is exactly what’s got Annabelle so excited!

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Preheat the oven to 400 F.  And in case you’re wondering what fan bake means, it’s convection bake.

Stir the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, using a knife.  Grate in the frozen butter and work it into the mixture with the knife until it’s mixed in. Don’t overwork it. The colder the butter remains, the better.

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Add the buttermilk and sugar and continue to stir with the knife.  Keep the mixture wet, so add a little more buttermilk if necessary, just 1 or 2 tablespoons.

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Place the mixture on a lightly floured surface and gently pat it into an oval shape, with just 5 or 6 pats in total.  Using a pastry scrapper if you have one, a sharp knife if you don’t, cut the dough into 15 pieces.  Place them on a baking tray, close together.

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Bake at 400 F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden.  Oh so scrumptious, no?

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Clotted Cream and the Great Scone Debate

“Oh clotted cream, why do you baffle me so?”    Oh Lidia

And now for the celebrated clotted cream.  Apparently, it isn’t so easy to make at home.  So they said.  You need to use unpasteurized heavy cream. Unpasteurized cream or milk is non-existant here in Montreal, unless you own a cow.  Which I don’t.  And you also need to use a high fat heavy cream.  40% fat content is good, 50% is better.  The highest fat cream available to us is a mere 35%.  So, against all odds, I went ahead and made it.  And make it I did.  Oh yeah!  Lusciously yummy!

Preheat the oven to 200 F.  Pour 2 cups of 35% cream into an oven dish with a lid.  I read that it needed to be in the oven for 8 hours.  I didn’t read the part that said to leave it in there for an additional 4 hours if it hadn’t thickened.  So after 8 hours, or at 10:30 PM, I had to learn how to set my oven so it would turn itself off at 2:30 AM.  Only it beeps to let you know that the oven has shut itself off.  And keeps on beeping.  Until hubby nudges me at 2:45 AM and says that something is beeping in the kitchen.  Oh Karen, I hope you appreciated that clotted cream!  After 12 hours, remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool before placing in the fridge for 8 hours.  The cream is now clotted, if you’re lucky.  Remove the clotted cream carefully, not including the liquid cream on the bottom which you can use as regular cream. Transfer to a glass container.

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Who would have thunk that this oh so luscious cream could spark a national debate over in the UK?  Well, it has!  The great debate is thus:  Do you spread the jam over your scone first and add a dollop of clotted cream on top?  Or do you spread the clotted cream over your scone and slather the jam over it? Hmmmm.  Unbelievable the amount of readings one can find on this.  In The Guardian.  The Telegraph.  Even The Independent.  Apparently, it’s a long-running rivalry between Cornwall, who claims it’s jam first with the clotted cream on top, and Devon, who insists it’s cream first with jam on top.  There’s actually a mathematician from the University of Sheffield who’s claim to fame is having proved which is the correct way.  Except that in The Telegraph she claims that it’s jam first.  And the very next day on ShortList.com, she insists it’s cream first.  Well, I just had to do my very own test, didn’t I?  So I tried my scone with jam first and the cream on top.  Yum!  Then I tried it with cream first and the jam on top.  Just as yum!  Maybe I needed to try again.  I did, with the same results.  So now I’m asking you my friends, how do you like your scones?

With the jam slathered on first and the clotted cream sitting on top?

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Or with the clotted cream spread onto the scone and the jam dolloped over it?

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And as I notice the time, I realize it is my birthday!  Happy Birthday to me! xo