Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Secret Irish Scones Challenge

 Every year we have open house Mince Pies and Mulled Stuff on a Sunday afternoon, which is really our way of not sending Christmas cards. The larger than life Martin Edwards (not the crime writer) always brought Christmas scones, but would never tell us the recipe. Goodness, these scones were amazing. Dried fruit steeped in Christmas spirit and added to his scone mixture. Finally two of us wore him down and he relented. Anne has been making them ever since- the cinnamon ones too. I finally got around to it on Friday night, inspired by Simone's Friday Cake Bake which is back and which is one of my (many) favourite things in Blogtopia.
Now, in celebration of two posts in one month, I am going to share the secret Irish scone recipe with you, but keep it under your hand-crocheted hat. The hard thing about these scones, and believe me, this is hard, is that you have to work fast. Jo and I were ready. We had absolutely everything all lined up and ready to go. He even had a stopwatch to time the tricky part. So, here it is- word for word as I wrote it down that day on the first scrap of paper that came hastily to hand.

 In a "dry" bowl you need 2 lbs of soda bread flour and then an extra 1/4 lb. (These are Irish scones and I don't know how you're going to get soda bread flour.) This bowl also has 4 oz of sugar and an extra oz. In a "wet" bowl you have 3 eggs, beaten, and a pint of buttermilk. (These are Irish scones and I don't know how you are going to get buttermilk.)
 THIS IS THE HARD BIT: you quickly dump the wet bowl into the dry and from this point on you have three minutes to get the scones in the oven- which has been pre-heated to 220 degrees C. My fan oven needs slightly more than 20 lower than that.
 Fold the wet mixture in to the dry mixture and stir in 4 oz melted margarine. Quick, quick, quick.
 At this point you will be confidently putting the scone mixture on to your floured surface. At this point, I realized that because I had halved the mixture, having used some of the buttermilk last week, something in my calculations had gone unfortunately awry.
 So handful after handful of flour was thrown and whipped into my mixture until it resembled anything capable of being dolloped on to the floured surface instead of drooling all over the floor. Jo is jumping up and down in time-keeping panic behind the camera.
 So, as I said, put the scone mixture on to your floured surface and sprinkle flour on top. If this extra flour isn't the extra 1/4 lb of flour then I don't actually know what that extra flour is for. Nor can I help with the extra oz of sugar!
 Flatten mixture with hands to 1 inch. Cut into scones and re-squish. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Martin used a midwife analogy: if you roll the belly of the scones and it moves, it is not ready. Hmm.
 I was convinced that our scones would be inedible. They were not. After disastrous amounts and very dubious tummy rolling, they came out perfectly. We were both delighted- as was everyone else. Our half mixture made a large tin full of scones that gave us supper on Friday, snack on Saturday morning and afternoon tea with friends on Saturday afternoon.
I think I'll make full dose next time and try the cinnamon scones with the rest: when the mixture is rolled flat to 1 inch, sprinkle 2/3 with cinnamon and brown sugar, currants and squares of melted (?) butter. Swiss roll it, cut into 1 inch chunks, lay flat in baking tray. Freeze after cooking if desired. Other variations were 4 oz grated cheese/ generous handful Christmas fruit/basil and sun-dried tomatoes added to original 3 minutes mixture.

Phew.

4 comments:

Gumbo Lily said...

I was so nervous that you weren't going to get the recipe right and under 3 minutes into the oven! They look scrumptch to me!!!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I dearly love scones and this recipe looks wonderful! The recipe will be made when I return home. Congratulations on 2 posts this month...sometimes life gets ahead of us, doesn't it?

El Perro Blanco said...

Oh my, think I might give these a go. But I have a question for the Scone Grand Master - why isn't the melted margerine added to the wet bowl?

M.K. said...

I've read this aloud to Adam, our resident scone-maker, and he's humming and thinking. He makes a luscious pumpkin scone, but the idea of spirit-soaked dried fruit does sound truly delectable.