And so to scones. I had already decided on the rhubarb and ginger jam but was dithering on the scones until Maxine from Why I Am Not Skinny announced that our jams and scones would be judged separately. You know how it is: you can’t show off a fancy jam with anything other than a plain scone and you can’t show off a fancy scone with anything other than butter, although the savoury scone with chutney and cheese at the Buttles Great Bake Challenge for scones would beg to differ. This technicality changed everything.
I was at home in Ireland for the first week of September: a brilliant weekend at Electric Picnic, then down to Cork for a couple of days. The weather was gorgeous and I took every opportunity to spend time by the water – I miss that so much when in Brussels.
A day in Killarney with Mom (isn’t she lovely)
Where we met this guy – the caterpillar of a goat moth. He was very fast moving, hence the blurriness.
This was followed by a day on my own in West Cork. I went to Lough Hyne – glorious stuff.
Doesn’t that just give you life?
Anyway, the point of this tangent is that I had an apricot and ginger scone one day. This particular specimen wasn’t great – it lacked apricots and ginger, which is an embarrassment to its very name. But the idea remained in my head, so I doctored a plain scone recipe as follows:
Apricot and ginger scones
450g self-raising flour
A pinch of baking powder
A pinch of salt
50g caster sugar
110g unsalted butter, diced
180g dried apricot, chopped into little pieces
30g crystallised ginger, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water, to glaze
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/gas mark 4.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and stir in the sugar
Go old-school home economics and lightly work in the butter until the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs. Don’t worry if there are still lumps of butter, they will melt. The most important thing is that you don’t overwork the dough, so the less you touch it, the better.
Add the dried apricots and ginger and mix.
Add the egg, cream and enough milk to moisten (sorry Martha!) the mixture.
Mix well until it has a soft, doughy texture, but not too moist.
Gather the dough into a ball and turn it out on to a floured surface, then flatten lightly to 2.5cm thick. No need for a rolling pin – just flatten it with your hands.
Cut out with a round cutter (I used a little one for the competition, because I knew everyone would be full of scones) and transfer the scones to a floured baking sheet. Apparently you should have the baking tray heating in the oven. Brush the tops with the egg glaze.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until well-browned.