So it is officially that time of year when the Great British Bake off is back on our screens (I know it is a bit late as it started last week), to celebrate this Graeme (that’s the person writing btw, who most of you know as Squirrel) and hopefully Kate (when she reads this) will be doing lots of Gin themed bakes.
Why would we do this? Well we do host our main Gin events in the Hidden Lane Tea Room and they always have Gin themed cakes for you all to eat when you come along. But mainly because Kate and myself have always been keen bakers, despite the fact that every Victoria Sponge I have ever made has failed to live up to my mothers.
So last week (btw there are no pictures as I hadn’t thought about doing this blog until late Tuesday night, while scanning through an old Delia Smith cook book) after the Bake off I thought “oh yeah, I make a mean Madeira Cake” so I did. However I added more lemon juice than normal then using some spare No.3 London gin I made a Gin and sugar syrup glaze then topped it off with candied lemon slices. Yes it was pretty great (or Doss, if readying the Perthshire area).
So this week to keep in with the Gin theme (however completely ignoring the theme of this week’s bake off which was biscuits) I decided to make some Gin themed scones.
Starting off with a tradition scone mixture, but with a bit more butter than most recipes say I cracked on with a basic scone mixture.
500g (sometimes more sometimes less) Self Raising flour or Plain Flower (just over a pound in real money) – I find that using plain flower and 5 teaspoons of baking powder gives better results.
100g (4oz) none salted butter (at room temperature)
80g (3oz) caster sugar
Walnuts (as many as you like)
Dried fruit (Raisins or dates)
A whole zested lemon
2 eggs (make then as ethically sourced as your head allows or not)
2 tsps baking powder
Then milk (usually 250ml) but you won’t use all of it.
Firstly fire on the oven to 200 degrees
Sift most of the flour into a decent bowl, not all though you want for tweeking your mix come the end. Then in lovely wee cubes add the butter.
Sticking your hands in the bowl, rub the flour and butter together until all the butter has mixed in. They say in cookbooks until it looks like breadcrumbs. It never looks like breadcrumbs, it just gets slightly darker and can be clumped together. The main thing is though that there shouldn’t be any lumps of just butter.
Then sift in your sugar and mix gently, flowed by the baking power.
Gather your dried fruit and nuts and chop finely, try to get things a bit even and a few millimetres in size. The larger the fruit the more it sinks in mixture and the les even the dispersion of fruit and nuts will be in the scone. Mix the fruit and nuts to the dry mixture.
Make a little well in the bottom of the bowl and crack in two eggs. Then using a butter knife (no idea the logic of the knife, my mother always told me this was the way it had to be done) mix the eggs into the dry mixture until the moisture of the eggs vanishes.
Grab your milk and pour half of your 250ml in and mix with knife. Soon it will be absorbed by the dry ingredients. Now get your hands in there and mix it all together. If it’s too dry and the flower isn’t forming together then add more milk. Keep doing this until you have dough. Sometimes you might add too much milk and the dough becomes sticky, that’s fine just throw in flour until stops being sticky. Your dough will have the right mix once it stops sticking to your hands and the bowl. Just knead it for it about until everything is mixed.
Dust the worktop and plant the dough on it. Don’t drop it or you will knock the air from it. Then gently roll it out (in any shape) so it is an inch thick.
Using a cutter, wine glass or cup, cut out some shapes and place on a buttered then dusted with flour baking try. Make sure these are clean cut, it allows them to rise better. Let them sit for a few minutes to let the baking powder do some work to the dough.
Once all cut, get a brush and coat the top with milk. Then sprinkle a little sugar on them and finally place the lemon zest on them.
Fire in the oven for 15-20 minutes, they should have risen and gone golden brown.
Fire on a cooling try and then serve them look warm.
Scones should be eaten the same day or the day just after.
I served mine with home make Sloe Gin, Raspberry and Black current Jam. Yum.