Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Traditional British Food, Part 25: (Cream) Tea for Two

Tea is my favorite meal. Both Paul and I are invariably hungry around 4 o'clock, so I think it's a wonderful time to bring out nibbles; scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam (Devonshire's cream tea) are always a welcome sight. However, there are only two of us and scones are best the day they're baked. I thought of all those frozen biscuits at Wal-Mart and figured I'd be able to freeze my scones. It actually works really well. Now we can just bake 4 scones at a time and always have hot scones.

This scone recipe (Devonshire Splits, to be exact) comes from the (sadly out-of-print) Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook.

Devonshire Splits

Yields 12 scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, chilled and finely diced (4 tablespoons)
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

To a large bowl, add the flour, salt, cream of tartar, baking powder, soda and sugar. Aerate and combine with a whisk.

Add the butter and rub the mixture between the fingers until the dough resembles a coarse sand.

Make a well, pour in the milk and cut in with a knife (I just used the one I used to level off the flour). Knead with the hands until the dough is smooth.

Roll the dough out to 3/4-inch thickness and cut out twelve scones using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter. Bake for 8-10 minutes on a greased baking sheet until the tops of the scones are a golden brown.

Serve with clotted cream and strawberry jam (I used the filling recipe from my Victoria Sandwich.)

These scones can be frozen before baking. Just place them between layers of plastic wrap or parchment paper in an airtight container. Simply bake as usual.


I have promised you a review of The Young Victoria. I must say, it's the first time I haven't regretted spending $9 on a movie ticket in a long time. Despite one glaring historical inaccuracy, the film was extremely enjoyable and really quite romantic. Paul was actually willing to accompany me to this film (unlike anything made about early-modern England, because I tend to complain through the whole thing--my apologies to Erika for going with me to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age--the history is so interesting, why mess it up?) and says he enjoyed it, which is pretty extraordinary. The Young Victoria was, above all else, a pretty and pleasant film, and I wish people would make more like it.

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