This year the humble scone celebrates its 500th anniversary, its longevity a testament to its simplicity and versatility.
How the scone got its name is not clear, but the various theories include the legend that it derives from the Stone of Destiny, held for 500 years at Scone Palace, where Kings of Scotland were crowned.
GRANNY'S PLAIN SCONES
Ingredients • 225g self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting) • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda • ½ teaspoon salt • 50g unsalted butter • 150ml buttermilk • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
Method Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Sift the flour, cream of tartar , bicarbonate and salt into a bowl, then rub the butter into the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Mix in the buttermilk until the ingredients start to come together. Pick up the mixture with your fingers and pull together gently into a soft (not sticky) dough. Roll into a ball then tip on to a lightly floured surface.
With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle at least an inch thick. Stamp out the scones with a cutter, taking care not to twist. When you have finished, knead the excess dough into a ball and roll out to cut another one or two scones.
Place the scones on a lightly buttered baking tray and dust them with a little flour. Place on the top shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes and bake until they are risen and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, then serve with jam and clotted cream.
CHILLI AND CHEESE SCONES
Ingredients • 225g self-raising flour • 50g unsalted butter • 150ml milk • ½ tsp salt • pinch of English mustard powder • 50g farmhouse hard cheese, grated • 2 dried red chillies, finely chopped
Method As above, adding the chilli and the grated cheese after you have made your breadcrumb mixture. Mix in the milk, then pull the mixture together in the bowl. Roll out the dough and stamp out the scones as above. Bake in the oven (220°C, gas mark 7) for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden.