Paul Hollywood’s Scones
The first time we caught The Fellowship of the Ring was surreal. By the time the credits rolled, it felt as though time froze and everything else in the real world did not matter. There was another world – Middle Earth – to explore and adventures to embark on. Before we knew it, we were turned into rabid Lord of the Rings zombies. We devoured anything Tolkien. It was… our pprreecciioouuusssss…..
(Don’t worry, this is not a horror story. We are just really huge fans. Fans who read the books every year, watch the movies twice annually and recite the script straight from memory. That’s normal right?)
With The Hobbit movie on its way, we decided to celebrate our love for the halflings and the brilliance of Tolkien’s creations. Hobbit Day fell on 22nd September, so why not pay a homage by doing what Hobbits do best? Food. Simple and tasty food with friends in the fields.
Coming up with the menu was not difficult; there were many recommendations on what to serve. Hobbits were quite the quintessential English, hence items like buttery scones, seed cake, cheeses were served. We remembered titles like “A Shortcut to Mushrooms”, or the scene that the hobbits were cooking in Amon Sûl. In fact, the difficult part was trying to decide which dishes to omit for a second breakfast. Everything was just delicious!
A feast was prepared. Friends were invited in their best Hobbit-y attire. Bunting was up. The weather was fair. You won’t be in the wrong if you thought we were in the Shire. Because that was exactly what we felt in that moment.
Paul Hollywood’s Scones
Adapted from Paul Hollywood
The way you pronounce them or whether jam comes first or not should not stop you from loving these fluffy little angels. Scones are one of our guilty pleasures. We love days when we can sit down to enjoy some tea and scones in a quaint veranda. For the record, we add clotted cream first.
Serves 15 small scones
500g strong white flour, plus extra for rolling out
80g unsalted butter, cold
80g caster sugar
5 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten with a little salt (for glazing)
Preheat oven to 220C.
Place 450g of flour into a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Rub the flour and butter to create a crumble mixture.
Add sugar, eggs and baking powder and use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients gently. Mix until the ingredients are just incorporated.
Add half of the milk a little at a time, and turn gently with the spoon to combine. It should form to be a very soft, wet dough – you might not need to add all the milk.
Sprinkle most of the remaining flour onto a clean work surface then place the dough onto the work surface. Sprinkle the rest of the flour on the dough.
Use your hands to fold the dough in half, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. This is called chaffing. Do this several times until a smooth dough is formed. Be careful not to overwork the dough. If the mixture is too sticky, use some extra flour to coat your hands to make more manageable.
To roll the dough, sprinkle flour on the work surface and the top of the dough. Roll from the middle and then down from the middle with a rolling pin. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and roll till it is 1 inch thick. Allow the dough to “breathe” by lifting the edges and letting the dough drop back onto the work surface.
Dip the edge of a pastry cutter in flour – it will be easier to cut the dough without them sticking on the pastry cutter. When cutting the dough, do not ever twist the cutter – just press firmly, then lift the pastry cutter up and gently push the dough out.
Once you’ve cut the most you can from the dough, re-work and re-roll the dough and cut them again. You can try it for the third time, (we won’t even suggest a fourth time) but the scones from each later batch will not turn out as fluffy as the first batch.
Lay a baking paper on a baking tray and place the scones on it. Leave to rest for a few minutes to allow it to work its baking powder magic. Use a pastry brush to glaze the tops with the egg and salt mixture. Be careful not to allow the egg mixture to touch or run down the sides – this will cause them not to rise evenly.
Bake the scones for 15 minutes, or until the scones are risen and golden-brown.
Leave the scones to cool. Serve with clotted cream and jam or jelly. (We had ours with homemade apple jelly.)
Do not over-mix the dough as it will work the gluten – this makes tough and hard scones. Mix the dough until it is just combined.
Twisting the scone while cutting the dough will result in an uneven rising.