I call this my community scone recipe. Because, a batch of hot scones, fresh whipped cream and home-made jams should be accompanied by good conversation and laughter.
Devonshire Tea (DT) takes it’s name after one of the county’s in England. Devon claims to be the place where the scones and cream specialty originated. Purists say DT should be served as white tea with one (or more) scones and each scone should be split in two with a dollop of clotted cream then strawberry jam on top. However most people in Australia serve scones with a spread of jam and a dollop of whipped cream on top. You can check out the state of DT in Australia in the Devonshire Tea Guide. This guide even has reviews of DT offered by five cafes in North East Tasmania Tasmania!
My Community Scone Recipe
The history of morning-tea scones goes back generations in my family. I recall cousins, aunts and uncles gathering at my grandmothers table. More recently I would join Graham at his mother’s house each Sunday morning in Hobart. This was where we would catch up with Graham’s brothers and various of our nephews and nieces. My mother-in-law would be busy shuttling batches of hot scones from the oven to the table. The room would be filled with conversation.
Sadly Graham and I have lost our parents, now. So we continue the tradition in our own home, but on a less regular basis. I can’t imagine serving scones and cream in a solitary fashion–scones are a community activity. Hence many of my son’s school friends, and our friends too, have sat around our table for scones. These are leisurely occasions often lasting hours and always accompanied by good conversation.
Cream Scone Recipe
This is my tried and true easy cream scone recipe. One batch makes six large scones. Even when I need to make more than six scones I still cook in batches of six. It is easy to have two or more mixing bowls ready to go with the cream and lemonade mixture sitting nearby! In that way I can keep serving up hot scones.
- Self-raising flour (3+ cups)
- Fresh thickened cream (500 ml)
- Icing sugar (3+ tablespoons)
- Vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
- Lemonade or soda water (200+ ml)
- Baking powder (1/2 teaspoon)
- Egg yolk whipped with a small amount of cream (optional)
- Jam – preferably home-made strawberry
Keep the Scones Light and Fluffy
To get the best results, it is important to keep the scone mixture light and airy. To achieve this you should waste no time getting the dough into the hot oven. So turn on the oven to about 175 deg C (fan-forced) or around 200 deg C. I prefer to use top and bottom oven elements without the fan. Place a sheet of baking paper on an oven slide, have your scone cutter out and have a large clean cutting board ready with a dusting of flour.
Prepare the Ingredients Ahead of Time
You should measure one cup of flour and add it to a sifter. Next, add in one tablespoon of icing sugar and small pinch of baking powder. Now you can mix the dry ingredients around with a spoon and sift it into the mixing bowl. Repeat this for the remaining two cups of flour.
When you are ready to prepare the scone dough, you can pour 200ml of cream and 200ml of lemonade in to a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Using a spoon, quickly mix the ingredients together. You might need to add in a little more lemonade if the mixture still looks dry.
Kneading the Dough
Next is the fun part! Get your fingers into the mixture to quickly knead it into a dough. Don’t allow the mixture to warm up. The dough should form easily and shouldn’t be so wet that it sticks to the mixing bowl. Tip the dough onto the cutting board. Then dust your fingers with some more flour and gently knead the dough into a round shape about 3cm high. Quickly cut the scones and place them onto the baking tray.
I tend to sacrifice good looks in order to achieve a light scone with a crunchy top. I guess you can spend more time kneading the dough and making it sit up better. You could also cut more perfectly shaped scones. But I don’t mind a rough-looking result. It is the taste and texture that I value most.
To make the top of the scones browned and crunchy, you can brush them with egg yolk. I whisk together an egg yolk with a little cream, then brush a small amount onto the top of each scone. You could also just use cream or milk – or nothing!
Baking the Scones
Place the scones into the pre-heated oven. They should be cooked in 15 to 20 minutes. But keep an eye on them. Usually you will smell a satisfying baking scent, the tops of the scones should be browned and when you tap them they should sound hollow.
While the scones are cooking you can whip up some cream with a little icing sugar and vanilla extract. Then you can clean-up, set the table and call the family. Don’t forget to put out the jam and make a pot of tea (or two). We actually prefer brewed coffee at our place.
Serve the scones hot!
I need to acknowledge the dedicated assistance of James and Graham. They selflessly gave up their time to test-taste the batch of scones which I cooked for this Blog.
While I do usually “play ladies” when guests are sharing our scones, I am less formal when it is just the three of us! However, I do enjoy setting the table with the fine china and crystal bowls for the cream and jam. It gave me some pleasure to set up the photos I have used on this page.
Some History About this Recipe
Many years ago, when I was working as a community Dietitian in Brisbane I used to give free cooking classes in the Relaxation Centre in the “Valley”. The classes were designed to help people who had no cooking skills. I nearly always started off with baking scones. We could then sit around and discuss what is was my “students” were wanting to learn in their classes.
I have a fond memory of a young man being so proud that he could bake scones. He was about to leave home for the first time and could invite his parents over for home-cooked scones! Another great memory was of a gift with a card I received from two Catholic nuns. Apparently they were about to leave their convent to live out in the community and were really grateful to be equipped with some basic cooking skills and nutrition knowledge. it made my heart swell!
If you wish to learn more about our tourist accommodation in North East Tasmania, please explore our Tin Dragon Cottages web site. We look forward to hosting your next stay in Tasmania! You might even join us for a Devonshire Tea in our new kitchen…(under construction).