Scones have been essential to the British teatime tradition since the mid-nineteenth century when, according to legend, Anna, the fashionable Duchess of Bedford ordered her servants to sneak the small cakes and hot tea into her room for an afternoon snack. In time, she began inviting her friends to join her, and this homely tradition became a social trend. Queen Victoria, hearing of the new convention, soon began hosting fancy-dress tea parties. The tradition continued into the twentieth century, with Mrs. Patmore serving scones to Lord and Lady Grantham at her bed and breakfast in Season 6 of Downton Abbey.
This recipe comes from The Official Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook
Downton's English Cream Scones
For the Scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp, salt
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 3/4 cup heavy cream plus 2 tbsp.
For the Topping
- 1 large egg white beaten with 1 tsp. water
- 1 tbssp. sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Have ready an ungreased sheet pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using a large spoon, stir in the currants and cream just until combined. Using your hands, gently gather the dough together, kneading it against the side of the bowl until it holds together in a rough ball.
- Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. roll out the dough about 3/4 inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out rounds from the dough, pressing straight down and lifting straight up and spacing them as closely together as possible. Place the dough rounds at least 2 inches apart on the sheet pan. Gather up the dough scraps and knead briefly on the floured work surface, roll out the dough again, cut more rounds, and add them o the pan.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the scones with the egg white mixture, then sprinkle evenly with the sugar.
- Bake the scones until golden, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Easy to Make Clotted Cream
- 2 cups pasteurized cream ultra pasteurized cream will also work
- Set a coffee filter basket, lined with a filter, in a strainer, over a bowl. Pour the cream almost to the top of the filter.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours. The whey will sink to the bottom passing through the filter leaving a ring of clotted cream.
- Scrape this down with a rubber spatula and repeat every couple of hours until the mass reaches the consistency of soft cream cheese.
- Set your oven to 180F
- Pour the cream into a heavy casserole dish. It should come up about 1-3 inches on the side. Set the dish, uncovered, in the oven and leave undisturbed for 12 hours. Be sure to leave the oven on the whole time. I do this overnight.
- Remove the dish from the oven and set to cool. Then cover and refrigerate. The next morning scoop the thickened cream into a jar or jars, and cover and put back in the refrigerator for the rest of the day.