There’s something very twee and English about afternoon tea. And it’s even better if the sun’s shining and you can serve it in your garden with homemade scones and jam. But then, tea and scones also sounds pretty damn appealing when it’s horrible outside and you just to want stay in and be cosy with a blanket and your Harry Potter box set.
So, what I think we might have established here it’s that tea and scones are a sound choice of snack, whatever the weather or time of year. And the traditional sweet, smother-me-in-jam-and-butter-and-gorge-on-me-until-I’m-all-gone-and-you’re-covered-in-crumbs type are so simple to make.
What you’ll need is:
For the scones:
- 225g plain four
- 40g unsalted butter
- 3 tbsps caster sugar
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 180ml buttermilk (you’ll find this in your supermarket in the same section as the cream)
Makes about 750g (If want to make more and have spare jam jars handy to store, just double up the ingredients, the method’s the same however much you cook up!)
- 500g blackcurrants
- 600g sugar
All you need to do is:
Pre-heat oven to 200 C and grease a large baking sheet. Put your flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and add the butter, rubbing in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in your sugar and buttermilk to make a dough, and plop onto a floured surface. Divide into scones using a biscuit cutter if you have one handy, or if not, just your fingers. Place on your baking tray, leaving room between them so they don’t morph into one monster scone when they rise. Bake for 8-10 minutes and cool before eating. They might smell lovely, but I don’t want to be held to blame when you burn your tongue!
Tip your blackcurrants into a bowl, stab with a fork to release some of the juices and then stir in your sugar. Leave for a few hours, stirring every now and then until almost all the sugar has dissolved. Tip into a pan and heat gently until the rest of the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and keep boiling for about five minutes. To check if the jam is at setting point, spoon a small blob onto a saucer and let cool for a minute or so. Prod it with your finger (make sure they’re clean), and if the surface of the jam wrinkles, it’s ready to rumble. If not, boil a bit more and test again. Then decant into jars and leave to cool. If kept in a sterilised, sealed container it will keep for months on end. (Long after your scones have been reduced to crumbs!)
(Flickr images via Samyii and Figgy)