Roberta’s Buttermilk Scones

People dropping by unexpectedly? All you need is self-raising flour, milk and 30 minutes to whip up a batch of scones, though if you have buttermilk, they’ll be even lighter! The first time I tried to make scones, they turned out more like rock cakes, then I discovered the golden rule: handle the dough as little as possible.

A light touch and a hot oven are the secrets to light fluffy scones, so I prefer this method of making one large round cut into segments, rather than shaping them into rounds then reforming the dough to use the offcuts. Scones are one of the quickest and easiest sweet treats to make, and perfect with a cup of smoky Russian Caravan tea.

Makes 8

Ingredients

    • 300g self-raising flour (about 2 cups), plus extra for dusting
    • 50g cold salted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing and serving
    • 220ml buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
    • jam, for serving

Method

Preheat oven to 250C.

Sift flour into a bowl.

Add butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until there aren’t any more lumps.

Make a well in the centre, add buttermilk and use a pastry scraper or hard spatula to cut it into the flour to form a soft sticky dough.

Turn on to a lightly floured bench, dust your hands with flour, and pat into a 3cm-thick round.

Place in a lightly greased and floured round cake tin (springform is easiest).

Use a pastry scraper or hard spatula dipped into flour to mark the round into eighths, pressing all the way through.

Brush top with buttermilk.

Place in oven, reduce temperature to 240C and bake for 15-20 minutes, until well-browned.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little.

Serve warm with jam and butter.

Roberta Muir is a food, wine and travel consultant, writer and cookbook author. Visit her website for more recipes and insights.

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Written by Roberta Muir

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