Scones with Strawberry Jam

21 September 2012

Post image for Scones with Strawberry Jam

On a recent trip to London, I was reminded of my fond affection for Devonshire Tea, essentially a scone served with jam and cream. In fact, my desire for a daily scone fix made me brave enough to venture into a café on my lonesome most afternoons, just so I could sit down to a proper cup of tea with a plate of warm scones. There is nothing more restorative if you have been on your feet all day, visiting museums and shopping on the High Street :-)

One such lovely establishment serving scones (although not proper Devonshire Tea) was the Patisserie Valerie in Covent Garden, a branch of what seems to be a patisserie/café chain store in the UK, although each one I came across seemed quite charming and unique, not necessarily catering to the masses. I found them to be welcoming enough to enter and sit by myself, sipping a warming cup of coffee or tea with something sweet on the side while I attempted, with travel guide books and street maps spread out around me, to plan my next place of visit. Stay tuned for an upcoming, although brief, travel post on London …

{A frothy cappuccino served with a fruit scone … the perfect afternoon tea at Patisserie Valerie in Covent Garden, London}

Scones are rather easy to make at home, although they seem to be rather easy to stuff up as well. I had tried various recipes which produced tasteless, rock-hard buns before coming across a recipe in Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess for Lily’s Scones. Somehow, these scones worked perfectly for me the first time I made them, and I haven’t looked at another recipe since. I quite often make them plain, but you could easily add a handful or more of raisins for a fruit scone, or even some grated cheddar or Gruyère for a savoury scone.

The scones are best eaten right away, or at least on the day of baking. But I find that if you individually wrap them in clingfilm, they still taste quite fresh one or two days later. This recipe also halves well to produce a smaller batch of scones.

I have been using this particular recipe for about 10 years, so if you have a favourite scone recipe which you would like to share, I would love to hear from you!

Scones
Recipe adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
25 g (1 oz) lard or vegetable shortening (or simply use butter)
300 ml full cream milk
1 egg, beaten (for the egg-wash)

Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F).

Place the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar into the bowl of a KitchenAid or stand mixer. Add the butter and lard or vegetable shortening, and briefly mix with the flat paddle attachment until the mixture resembles damp sand. Alternatively, you can do this by hand by simply rubbing the fats into the flour with your fingertips.

Add the milk and quickly mix everything until it just comes together in a dough. Try not to overwork the dough as this may lead to tough scones later.

Place the dough onto a floured work surface and pat it into a rectangle or circle about 3 cm high.

You can make the scones as little or as big as you like, adjusting the baking time accordingly.

I use a 6 cm crinkle-edged cookie cutter to make fairly small scones. You could also use a teacup or small mug to shape your scones.

Cut your scones and arrange them closely together on a baking tray, lightly re-shaping the dough as necessary.

Brush the scones with some egg-wash before baking in the oven for about 10 minutes (depending on size), or until lightly golden.

You may need to test a scone to make sure that it is fully cooked through in the centre.

And to serve the scones, I think you really do need a red jam of sorts, and nothing can beat a seasonal strawberry jam. I was looking for a no-fuss strawberry jam recipe and came across one in Bake by Rachel Allen. The recipe seemed a little unusual at first, in that it requires you to first warm the sugar in the oven before adding it to the cooked fruit. I suppose this is to help keep everything at a consistent temperature and perhaps speed up the cooking process. My first batch was so delicious that it was devoured in a few weeks, prompting me to make a second and third batch over the summer, which have since also disappeared. Whilst the season for strawberries is pretty much over, I might try to squeeze in one more batch whilst strawberries are still reasonably priced, and especially to provide a bit of colour in the winter months coming ahead.

I’ve used fresh strawberries in this recipe, but you could also use frozen strawberries. And for a raspberry jam, simply use the same quantity of raspberries but omit the lemon juice.

Strawberry Jam
Recipe adapted from Bake by Rachel Allen
Makes approximately 4 x 375 g (13 oz) jars

1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) granulated sugar
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) fresh and ripe strawberries, hulled
juice of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Place the sugar in an ovenproof bowl and warm it in the oven for about 15 minutes.

In a large saucepan, cook the strawberries with the lemon juice over medium-high heat.

As the strawberries start to soften, use a wooden spoon or potato masher to mash the strawberries to your desired consistency.

I like my strawberry jam to be somewhat smooth so I mash everything to a pulp.

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for a few minutes before adding the warm sugar.

Stir until the sugar has dissolved and continue boiling the mixture for about 10 minutes.

Stir the mixture frequently to make sure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

If any froth appears on the surface of the mixture, skim this off with a large spoon.
If you are using a sugar thermometer, the jam is ready when it reaches 105°C.

Otherwise, to test if the jam has reached setting stage, put a tablespoon of jam onto a small cold plate (which has been in the freezer), and chill it for a few minutes. Run your finger through the jam. If the line remains, the jam is ready.

Fill your sterilised jars with the jam and seal them while they are still warm.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianne 21 September 2012 at 1:07 pm

Scones – yes! A definite favourite of mine. Your recipe is very different to mine though and I shall have to give it a try. I use a simple 2 cups of SR flour and 1 tbs of caster sugar with 40g of butter rubbed in before cutting through 3/4 to one cup of milk. It is very simple and healthy but not decadant. I make scones wiht my Year 9s every year. Many of them produce some decent results with this recipe, but some of them come out with rocks when the over knead and work the mixture! Your strawberry jam recipe sounds great. Strawberries are cheap here at the moment so I may need to test your jam recipe too!

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eat, little bird 21 September 2012 at 2:08 pm

Your recipe sounds lovely and simple, and easy to remember as well. Self-raising flour is not available where I live so I tend to go for recipes with baking powder added, or a combination of bicarb and cream of tartar. I remember making scones as a kid at school and loved it! It’s a recipe which uses so few ingredients, and common ingredients at that, that it’s a good way of getting kids involved, I think. I know there are a million and one recipes for strawberry jam out there, but this one worked well for me so I wanted to share it :-)

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Jo 21 September 2012 at 1:19 pm

My favourite scone without a doubt is Rachel Allen’s from Bake, ironically enough! I did not get along with Lily’s scones – they were very soda tasting and step monster spat it out when I made them for her and my dad! There’s a Pat Val in Liverpool but I’ve never ventured in. I love still warm homemade scones so much I would be scared of a mass catering joint messing them up lol! Am not much of a patisserie fan either but I know you are Thanh so it must be better than I think! I can’t wait for a blog post about London from you – pleeeeease do do one. I bet it would be exquisite :D

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eat, little bird 21 September 2012 at 2:11 pm

Funnily enough, I haven’t noticed the scone recipe in Bake! Must look that up now … And shame that Nigella’s scones did not work out for you. I find them to be quite light and fluffy and they work everytime for me. That said, I would be interested in trying new recipes just to compare!

The scones from Patisserie Valerie were really buttery and lovely. I don’t think they make them fresh each day, but as they are served warm, it’s hard to tell. For me, they hit the spot :-)

I’m afraid I didn’t take as many photos in London as I ought to have, so my London post will be quite short … it just means that I have to go back soon! ;-)

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Ashima 21 September 2012 at 1:29 pm

Ah Scones! love them and they always remind me of London which was my home until 2 years ago when we moved back to India.. and what I love about them is that scones are a perfect playground.. I don’t think there is any count on the different types of scones that one can make :)

Cheers,
Ashima

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eat, little bird 21 September 2012 at 2:13 pm

There is something very English about scones, isn’t there? The Americans have their “biscuits” which are quite similar, though they tend to be more on the savoury side. I would never say no to a side of biscuits with fried chicken :-)

And you are right about the variety. I particularly love pumpkin scones and, as pumpkins are coming into season, I might need to make a batch soon!

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jules 21 September 2012 at 1:36 pm

now I have a craving for scones! These look great!

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eat, little bird 21 September 2012 at 2:15 pm

Well they take hardly any time to make ;-)

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Edith 21 September 2012 at 3:35 pm

These have to be some of the best looking scones I have ever seen, definitely have to give them a try :)
A scone a day keeps the doctor away, right?

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eat, little bird 21 September 2012 at 3:58 pm

Oh thank you!! And I like your philosophy … something I would happily live by ;-)

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TheSpicySaffron 21 September 2012 at 3:42 pm

wow Thanh, What a treat! I love scones but have never tried making them at home. I am tempted to do so very soon! Though, I have made the American version of it.. ‘biscuits”.
The jam looks delicious too !

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eat, little bird 21 September 2012 at 4:01 pm

I think biscuits and scones are pretty much the same thing … both are easy to make and very easy to eat! This mention of biscuits has me craving fried chicken with gravy all of a sudden, LOL!!

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Paula 21 September 2012 at 5:30 pm

It seems nice that Patisserie Valerie ;)

And, I think I have already said it to you, but I love scones!! And they’re great as breakfast with jam, but at home, we have used even for a hamburguer!!!

Nice photos ;)

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eat, little bird 21 September 2012 at 7:00 pm

Wow, you are right … scones can be quite versatile! In the US, they often serve scones (or biscuits) at breakfast, split with bacon and a fried egg in the middle. It’s delicious!

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debjani 22 September 2012 at 4:42 am

Thank you for this detailed recipe. I have never had luck making scones. Everyone who hears me says its the easiest thing to do but I fail every time. I’m going to give this one a go. I always find them tough as bricks because of never knowing how much liquid it’s going to take and in turn kneading too much.

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eat, little bird 22 September 2012 at 9:40 am

I think the trick is to avoid over-working the dough – the less you touch it, the better! Having said that, I was also very light-handed with other recipes but they still turned out tough. Perhaps it was the ratio of ingredients. These scones are quite light, perhaps due in part to the bicarb and cream of tartar. Good luck the next time you make them!

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debjani 23 September 2012 at 3:29 am

Could be the cream of tartar which I never used. I will let you know for sure.

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Joanna Preston 23 September 2012 at 9:41 am

Certainly will try this recipe. My mother makes the most divine scones, her secret she swears is using slightly sour milk!! Anyhow it seems to work, that and cooking them in an Aga – !

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eat, little bird 23 September 2012 at 6:10 pm

I’ve been curious to try scones using buttermilk. Nigella has a recipe in her book, Kitchen, which I have been eyeing for some time. Thanks for reminding me! And I’m sure an old-fashioned Aga would make a lot of difference for many cakes … I’m envious of anyone who has an Aga.

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anita menon 23 September 2012 at 12:09 pm

This post takes me back to the time when I had just started baking. I was finding my baby steps through the strict measurements and baking time matrix and one of the first things I attempted was chocolate chip scones. they turned out delightful that fueled by ambition to try something more daring. I haven’t looked back since.
Scones taste amazing when they are just out of the oven.
Yours look so delightful and the jam is something I would quickly buy if it were for sale.
you should have an online sale or something, if possible.

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eat, little bird 23 September 2012 at 6:15 pm

Ooh, I love the sound of chocolate chip scones! I think scones are one of the first things that a lot of Australian kids learn how to make at school. As my parents ran a bakery when I was growing up, I didn’t make scones so much at home because there was always a constant supply at the bakery! I also love eating scones straight from the oven … I love my food piping hot, so a fresh scone with a nice smear of butter is heaven to me!

And thank you for your lovely comments about my jam :-) I’ve contemplated making and selling jam but it is perhaps not the most economical business in Switzerland, LOL! But my neighbours get to profit from my jam exploits so that we don’t always have to eat the same flavoured jam week in, week out. Plus it’s nice to be able to share :-)

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thelittleloaf 23 September 2012 at 2:36 pm

Ooh yum I love scones – yours look like perfect little specimens!

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Heather Hands 24 September 2012 at 7:57 am

Oh my, what a perfect combination. I love to add a bit of whipped cream on the side.

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Rushi 24 September 2012 at 1:21 pm

I fell in love with scones in London too, just couldn’t have enough of them. I was brave enough to try two versions, one using buttermilk and the other using lemonade back home and I was pretty pleased with the result. I’ve never tried Nigella’s but your post made me want to try them out. Scones with cream and lots of jam, yum yum yum :)

You lucky thing, to grow up in your parent’s bakery and now I want to move next door to you just so that I’d be able to sample your delicious treats :D

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eat, little bird 28 September 2012 at 8:23 pm

Oh lemonade sounds interesting! I would be curious to try such a recipe, too.

I’d like to think that my neighbours are happy to sample my baking here and there but, more often than not, I’m worried that I’m force-feeding them fatty food, LOL!!

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Amanda 26 September 2012 at 8:26 pm

These pictures are beautiful! I’m actually studying in London right now (for the fall term), and if you’d love to visit a really adorable little café with a phenomenal scone, try Bea’s of Bloomsbury! I literally just visited yesterday and am completely enamored with it. Thanks for the recipes as well-I’m a student on a budget so simple recipes like this are so appreciated :)

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eat, little bird 28 September 2012 at 8:24 pm

Thank you for the tip! I will have to seek out Bea’s of Bloomsbury the next time I am in London (hopefully soon :-)). Scones are indeed very economical and can also be very filling, something which I also discovered when I was a student. Good luck with your studies!

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Hamilton Courtney 7 November 2012 at 8:08 pm

Yum! This is such a classic British recipe, executed so beautifully here.

I love how incredibly chic your blog is, a real treat for the eyes :)

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eat, little bird 12 November 2012 at 8:07 pm

Oh thank you! I hope you will enjoy your visits here :-)

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Erika 2 April 2013 at 6:04 am

It’s way past midnight and I’m considering making some scones! I just love them and they’re so easy! It took me a while to make them work, though. But I now I have two recipes I can trust – maybe I’ll have a third, after trying yours ;)

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Sarah 31 January 2014 at 3:37 pm

What is cream of tartar? I’m from Belgium and have no idea what this is :)
Would love to make some scones myself!
Thanks!

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eat, little bird 31 January 2014 at 4:31 pm

Hi Sarah,
Cream of tartar is a raising agent. It’s not commonly available or used in Europe, I’m afraid. I buy my cream of tartar from specialty shops which stock baking goods from the UK and US. Hopefully you will find some in Belgium so you can try this lovely recipe.

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