Light and fluffy scones with the tart sweetness of raspberries served with a rich and decadent homemade clotted cream.
There is a cosy but bustling café in Zurich called Babu’s Bakery & Coffeehouse which is a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth. As you enter the shop, to the left is a large wooden sideboard with an enticing array of cookies and cakes beautifully displayed on antique cake stands. The front counter is abundant with freshly baked pastries and cinnamon scrolls, waffles and muffins, and their popular carrot cake tray-bake.
Earlier this week, as I was making my way to our table, I noticed an older lady with a little boy who may have been her grandchild. They were sitting at a table for two, giggling over something funny that had passed between them. I smiled at their affectionate display and then saw the grandmother lovingly break off a piece of cake which they were sharing and offer it to the boy. The cake in question was a raspberry scone.
Of course, I didn’t know what the cake was exactly at the time, but once I saw it on the main counter, I claimed the last one for my greedy self. And I call myself greedy because, even though I had just ordered a stack of banana pancakes for my morning tea, there was no way I would have been able to eat a scone in the same sitting. It’s just that I knew I had to have it.
And when I eventually got around to eating the scone (later that day for afternoon tea), it was the most heavenly scone ever. It had a crunchy coating with a light and fluffy interior, with just the right amount of sweetness from the cooked berries.
I felt inspired to try and recreate them at home, not least because I adore scones but had never really deviated from making the usual plain scones or, in moments of nostalgia, pumpkin scones (which are very popular where I grew up in Brisbane, Australia).
So here are my raspberry scones, inspired by my visit to Babu’s Bakery & Coffeehouse. They aren’t as pretty; mine look much more rustic with a touch of what Nigella Lawson would describe as cellulite.
What is particularly lovely about these scones is that the raspberries are not rolled through the dough; they are instead inserted decoratively on top of the scones. Admittedly, these scones do require a bit of pfaff and patience to make, but sometimes it can be fun to go the extra step to make something pretty for afternoon tea.
To eat scones, I think they really benefit from some whipped cream and maybe a dollop of jam. But as I have a habit of making a lot of things from scratch, proper scones are served traditionally with clotted cream, something which is not readily available in Switzerland but which can be made quite easily at home, provided that you organised enough to prepare it in advance.
If you have never heard of, or tried, clotted cream, think of a very thick cream with a rich, buttery taste.
As these scones already contain some fruit, I don’t think it is necessary to serve them with jam. But if you do decide to offer jam (raspberry jam would be my preference here), may I suggest a tip for serving? My way of serving scones is to split them in half through the centre, spread as much jam as you like on each scone half, and then top with cream. If you spread the cream first on the scones and then apply the jam, you run the risk of the jam sliding off and making things a bit messy … just warning you 😉
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: Makes 10-12 scones
- 3 cups (450 g) plain flour
- 6 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 cup (50 g) caster sugar
- 1/2 stick (60 g) cold & unsalted butter, diced
- 1 1/4 cup (310 ml) milk
- fresh raspberries for decorating
- 1 egg mixed with a tablespoon of milk for the eggwash
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Place a metal baking tray in the oven during this time.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Stir through the salt and sugar.
- Add the butter. Using the flat paddle attachment, light mix until the mixture resembles wet sand. Alternatively, if you do not have a stand mixer, you can rub the butter into the ingredients using your fingertips.
- Slowly add most of the milk, taking care not to over-work the mixture. Add enough milk until the mixture just comes together into a ball. You may not need all of the milk.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and gently pat the dough together into a round shape, about 3 cm (1 inch) high. Again, try to not handle the dough too much, otherwise the scones may be tough.
- Use a 2 inch (5 cm) cookie cutter, or even a small bowl or glass, to cut out rounds from the dough.
- Gently work the remaining dough together to cut as many rounds as possible.
- Dip the end of the handle of a wooden spoon (or similar kitchen utensil) into some flour. Use this to punch large indents into each scone round, going almost to the bottom. Depending on the size of your rounds, you might fit 3-4 indents.
- Place all of the rounds close together on a sheet of baking paper (which you will later transfer to the baking sheet in the oven).
- Brush all of the scones generously with eggwash.
- Fill each hole with a raspberry. If your raspberries are too big, slice them in half.
- Transfer the baking sheet with the scones onto the heated baking tray.
- Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden and well-risen.
- Dust the scones with some icing sugar before serving. Serve them warm or cold with whipped cream and jam, or with clotted cream.
- The scones are best eaten on the same day they are baked.
- To freeze the scones, prepare them as per the recipe up until you have made indents in each round (or you could even skip this step to make plain scones). Place the scones in a single layer in a large ziplock freezer bag and place in the freezer. To bake, simply brush the frozen uncooked scones with eggwash and decorate with raspberries (or skip the raspberries if you are making plain scones), and bake as per the recipe. If you are baking them from frozen, they will need an additional 5-10 minutes in the oven.
Homemade Clotted Cream
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 12 hours
- Total Time: 12 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: Makes 1 cup (250 ml)
- 4 cups (1 litre) double cream or heavy cream, preferably unpasteurised
- Preheat the oven to 200°F (100°C).
- Pour the cream into a shallow stainless steel saucepan with oven-proof handles.
- Place the saucepan into the oven, and leave it there for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight. During this time, a thick and golden crust will form on top of the cream. This is the “clotted cream”.
- Remove the saucepan from the oven and leave it to cool at room termperature for 10 to 12 hours.
- Scoop off the golden crust (or the “clotted cream”), and place it into a sterilised glass jar. Refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving.
- Unpasteurised cream works best when making clotted cream because it “clots” better. However, you can also get good results with pasteurised cream, but you may need to leave it in the oven for longer. What would not work in this recipe is ultra-pasteurised cream (UHT cream).
- The clotted cream will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- The cream which is left below the golden crust can still be used for cooking or baking.
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