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Scones for a perfect afternoon tea


225g / 8 oz Shipton Mill White Self raising Flour

Pinch of salt

55g / 2 oz cold butter cubed

40 to 55g / 1.5 to 2 oz of sugar to your own taste. Caster or granulated is fine

Cold full fat milk ... preferably a few days old but not off. (Semi skimmed is probably OK, but not skimmed.)

(Small handful of sultanas optional, added when you put the sugar in.)


Makes about 8 scones if cut 5cm and 6 if you use a 6.5cm cutter approximately

Equipment: Mixing bowl, biscuit cutter or thin walled drinking glass, slightly greased flat baking tray

Key tips: The secrets to a good scone are not to over work the dough, keep it cool so that you have the least contact with hot hands. And importantly to roll the mixture gently into a nice thick layer. Most people roll out their dough too thinly and then it won't rise to the required thickness.
I don't add extra baking powder as I feel it leaves a metallic taste.

Preheat the oven to 220°C, 200°C fan, 425°F or gas mark 7

Lightly grease a flat baking sheet (maybe 2 depending on size).

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, mix together then add the cubed butter.
Rub the butter into the flour using your finger tips till it looks like breadcrumbs.
(Best to rub butter into the flour slightly above the mix and let it fall down. This keeps the mix cool and airy).

Add sugar, and if using the dried fruit, stir through with a table knife or palette knife.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour some milk in, best to add a bit at a time as you use the knife to quickly stir the milk into the flour mixture. You want a wet but handleably texture. When there is enough milk in the mix then bring it together very gently into a ball of dough. Do as little to the mix as possible or it will become tough. Do NOT compact the mixture.

Tip the dough onto a clean floured surface, roll to a thickness of 3 cm using a floured rolling pin. (if you don't have a rolling pin, just pat it down gently with your hands.

Take a round cutter and cut as many scone out in one go as you can. Don't twist the cutter or the scone will not fully rise but will twist round and tilt.Transfer to a slighly greased baking sheet using a palatte knife.

If you don't own a cutter, you can use a drinking glass or even just cut the dough into squares or triangles.

Keep the extra dough, working it as little as possible bring it together and roll again. Cut more scones out as before. Gather the few trimmings left and roughly form a scone shape... we call that the cooks one! The each time you re-roll the dough gets tougher which is not what you want.

Brush a little milk (with a pastry brush or clean fingers) on top of the scones, being careful not to let it drip down the side. If milk gets on the sides it stops the rise being even and that is why you get lop sided scones.

Bake in middle or top shelves of a hot oven for 8 mins, then turn the sheet round and bake for another 4 to 6 mins depending on the size of scone. Keep an eye on them, baking time will vary from oven to oven.

The are baked when they have a pale golden brown top.

Cool on wire rack

You should be able to split the scone without a knife, the middle should be just cooked and yet nice and moist light texture.

Eat with butter while still warm, or when fully cooled with raspberry / strawberry jam and lots of clotted cream (I might cause another civil war if I were to say which way round the jam should go but personally I'm a jam then cream on top person).

I also believe each half deserves it's own jam and cream and a bit like an open sandwich not a closed one.

Best eaten that day, with a pot of freshly made tea. This is the perfect cream tea and takes less than 30 mins so can be made at short notice.


The photo is of a massive batch I made for a friends birthday party some years ago. You won't get that many out of this recipe unless you do 6x the quantities. And for some reason the editing software keeps turning it upside down.