Darina Allen Scones With Buttermilk
- January 26, 2022
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How to make the perfect scone
The honest scone has no sugary icing or exotically-perfumed ganache to hide behind – it stands or falls on its absolute freshness, which is why it's impossible (and please correct me if I'm wrong) to purchase a good example on the high street.Twee tearooms are similarly unreliable, because scones should be enjoyed straight from the oven, with only the briefest of pauses for the requisite toppings (at the risk of losing a few of you right here, I'll admit now that I'm a clotted cream denier) – making them ideal fodder for home bakers.The problem is that sub-standard scones can be disappointing indeed – dense little curling stones barely worth the effort of buttering – yet without our support, the brave wee thing is in danger of extinction.Every scone maker aspires to the towering triumphs of the soufflé – the miraculous transformation of lumpen flour and fat into a billowing cloud of fluffy dough – but all too often ends up with stubbornly flat biscuits instead.Bicarb, I learn, is an alkali that reacts with acids (buttermilk is my habitual choice, but cream of tartar or lemon juice can also be used) to create the carbon dioxide that causes the mixture to rise.Finally, there's Marcus Wareing's take on the perfect scone, which over-eggs the pudding with both self-raising flour and extra baking powder (a method also favoured by Gary Rhodes, I notice: these cheffy types never know when to leave well alone).The Sophie Grigson buttermilk scones have an almost grainy appearance, while Marcus's and Rachel's are a deep golden colour, presumably thanks to the eggs in their recipes.Towering magnificently above the rest (by a good couple of millimetres) are the scones of the fragrant Rachel Allen (bicarb and cream of tartar).The results are more impressive than the initial batch, but not as tall as Rachel's, which suggests to me it's the combination of raising agents (bicarb and cream of tartar) and extra-fine flour which has made the difference here.Having enjoyed many a decent fruited number in their various tearooms over the years, I can't pass over the National Trust's Traditional Teatime Recipes book, although I'm surprised to find it calling for lard as well as butter.They're lovely though – as the author, Jane Pettigrew points out, "despite containing no eggs, this recipes makes light, well-risen scones": crumbly, feather-light and definitely nudging Rachel and Marcus in the height stakes.Delia, meanwhile, thinks the real test of a scone-maker's mettle comes at the very last minute: "don't roll [the dough] any thinner than 2.5cm" she cautions, "and push, don't twist the cutter.".Marcus Wareing and Rachel Allen's recipes are both rich and eggy, with a moist, golden crumb – delicious, but to my mind, more like a cake than a scone.The lard versions, which contain no sugar, are pleasingly puritanical, as befits the scone's Scottish heritage, crumbly – and utterly delicious once they've been rewarded with a dollop of raspberry jam.The secret, I think, whatever your preference, is not to skimp on the raising agent (self-raising flour alone doesn't seem to do the job), to work the mixture as little as possible – and make sure you don't roll it too thinly before cutting. .
How to make the perfect scones and the common mistakes to avoid
The cardinal rule of scone-making says that it is essential to use a light touch when rubbing in your fat and to knead the dough as little as possible.Unlike most other baking, when it comes to making scones, ice-cold butter is best and will lead to a perfect rise.It reacts with the raising agent to break down gluten strands and result in a soft, cloud-like scone.Butter may be rubbed in but do not add raising agent and liquid until just before baking.It might be tempting to use a food processor to mix the butter and flour together, but it often activates the gluten, resulting in a tough scone, so best stick to the old-fashioned method.Whether you use a glass or an actual pastry cutter for your scones, do not twist as you cut, as it will result in an uneven rise.The perfect scone, smeared with homemade jam and cream.Tender and delicious scones with crunchy sugary tops — one bite transports me back to the kitchen of my childhood.Whisk the eggs with the milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough.Brush the tops with egg wash and dip each one in crunchy Demerara or coarse granulated sugar.Bake in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top.Mix 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon with 55g granulated sugar.Add the sifted icing sugar and beat until fluffy. .
Ireland revisited: Buttermilk scones
I was bare, and on my way to begin an adventure in cooking at the tiny and perfectly quirky Ballymaloe Cookery School for a spring/summer immersion course.The school sits on its own sustainable working farm, where animals pasture and vegetables grow in abundance, all beside the shores of the Celtic Sea.The small group of us international students milked cows before dawn and baked bread in early ovens.We cooked difficult dishes in cramped kitchens, all under the serious eyes of instructors, including the matriarch, Darina Allen.This woman, in this unassuming place, really offered up the big picture on sustainable eating and cooking, down to saving kitchen scraps for the chickens that, in turn, provide compost for the garden beds.Place your largest cutting board (or use a clean counter space) and dust it liberally with flour.If you are using a baking stone, make sure it is on the middle rack of your oven, or ready a cookie sheet with a length of parchment paper (not wax paper), or if you don’t have parchment, dust the sheet lightly with flour.Now, using your hands (a fun, messy, and more direct approach) or a wooden spoon, patiently and little-by-little incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, working from the inner reaches, circling outward.If your dough is still too dry and not coming together into a shaggy ball, add just a bit more of your buttermilk to tidy it up.With a brush, or your fingers, glaze each scone lightly with any remaining buttermilk and egg mix.• For sweet scones, consider adding to the dry ingredients ¾ cup of dried fruit or crystallized ginger (chopped, if the fruit is large-cut), ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate.For savory scones, consider adding to the dry ingredients a few tablespoons of a finely chopped fresh herb, such as dill or rosemary, or a seed such as cumin or fennel. .
Cheesy Buttermilk Scones – What Jessica Baked Next
Before Christmas I was sent Rachel Allen’s latest cookbook “Coast” from the publishers HarperCollins to review for my blog.The recipes included in the book are inspired by Rachel’s travels along Ireland’s Atlantic Coast.We first tried the cheese scones a few weeks back before Christmas and I couldn’t wait to make them again and share them with you.I came home from a day at college to find a plate of freshly baked cheese scones made by my mum and sister, just waiting to be devoured.These cheesy buttermilk scones are also tasty topped with sliced cheese and a spoonful of your favourite chutney.The cheese scones were really light and fluffy and this is thanks to the buttermilk and the minimal mixing and handling of the dough.In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cayenne.Using your fingertips, rub the cubes of butter into the dry mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and now mix through the grated cheese.You may need to add a few tablespoons extra buttermilk, if your scone dough is too dry.We love ours served with sliced Cheddar cheese and hot gooseberry chutney. .
Darina Allen's white scone recipe, perfect for Mother's Day
These scones are my mother’s recipe, which I introduced to a wider audience in my first “Simply Delicious” TV series.When my mother made these for us as children, they were always tender and delicious—but adding a few golden raisins was as adventurous as we got.Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour, and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs—surprisingly, this results in lighter scones.If you cut them into squares or triangles with a knife or pastry cutter, as my mother did, there is no need to roll again.Add 3/4 cup plump golden raisins to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.Add 3/4 cup Muscatel raisins and 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.Add 1 cup quartered candied or dried cherries to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.Add 3/4 cup candied orange and lemon peel to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.Coat the citrus peel well in the flour before adding the liquid to stop it from sticking together.Add 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (or whole raspberries or blueberries) to the basic mixture after the butter has been rubbed in.Add 3/4 cup fresh raspberries and 3oz chopped white chocolate to the basic mixture after the sugar has been rubbed in.Read more Darina Allen: The woman who put Irish cooking on the map. .
Irish Scones with Jam & Cream: Easy recipe! -Baking a Moment
And even though St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, I see no reason to stop sharing the delicious and authentic Irish recipes that I experienced on my recent trip to the emerald isle!Fluffy and soft, with a rich flavor and a hint of sweetness, Irish scones are comfort food at its very best.This method was taught to me by none other than Darina Allen, the famed Irish chef who founded the Ballymaloe School of Cookery.In case you’re not familiar, they are an easy quick bread that’s made in just a few minutes, with pantry staples.I have a basic scone recipe on this site that I’ve been making for years, but it’s more cake-y and moist- similar to what you’d find at Starbucks.To make this authentic recipe, start with flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.The instructors at Ballymaloe showed us how to grate the butter into the dry ingredients.After a while, you’ll see things come together to form a sticky dough that gathers itself into a ball.Lightly flour your work surface and pat the dough into a disc shape, about 1-inch thick.It’s helpful to dip the cutter in flour every time you cut a scone.Place your unbaked scones on a tray, and brush them with the remaining milk/egg mixture.Sometimes you may see it called “raw sugar.” You can usually find it in the baking aisle at your regular supermarket, or you can order it online: demerara sugar.Bake the scones in a very hot oven (475 degrees F is not a typo!).They’re just sweet enough as is, but if you really want to treat yourself, smear them with soft butter and add a dollop of raspberry or strawberry jam, lemon curd, and/or whipped cream.You could also add fresh, frozen, or dried berries, or nuts, seeds, or chocolate chips.If you’ve tried making scones in the past and have had difficulty, I’ll try to address the most common issues below.If your scones come out flat, the number one culprit here is likely to be your baking powder. .
DARINA ALLEN'S IRISH SODA BREAD
Mix the flours in a large wide bowl, add the salt and sieved baking soda.With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the center to the outside of the bowl in ever increasing concentric circles.Tuck the edges underneath with your hand; gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 1 1/2-inch thick.Brush tops with egg wash (egg beaten with a little milk), dip tops into shredded Dubliner® cheese and bake, cheese-side up, 10 minutes in a 450° F oven; cook on wire rack. .