Next Up on the “Return to Vacation” culinary tour: The UNITED KINGDOM, England, to be more precise.
Mom and I went to London sort of accidentally; Well, accidentally on purpose. While not in the original plan, we realized it made more sense monetarily and logistically to fly in and out of London, so we figured we might as well stop in for a few days and see the sights.
I spent a semester in London during law school, and in those five months I fell in love with the city: the culture, the energy, the people, the history…I could go on. Anyway, Mom had never been, so I loved that I got to show her the sights, and a glimpse into my life there.
To end our trip on a celebratory note, we went for high tea at Brown’s Hotel. Now, I can be pretty fancy, and one of my favorite fancy things to do is to go for afternoon tea. I even have a fascinator. Truth.
The last time I had tea at Brown’s hotel, I was with Yam and we had another sandwich-like, overindulging incident. The food is so good, and it’s easy to get carried away. While the finger sandwiches, handcrafted pastries and Victoria sponge cake were all fine and dandy, my favorite part of our spread was the scones and clotted cream.
Scones. So simple, but filled with a buttery goodness that rarely enters my everyday existence I could barely contain myself from eating the whole tray. The only thing that stopped me was that half of them were filled with raisins. And I don’t like raisins.
I’ve never attempted to make scones on my own because I don’t NEED them in my every day existence. However, going through a bit of trip withdrawal and euro-nostalgia, I made them, sans clotted cream.
Side note: For those of you that don’t know, clotted cream is basically the thick creamy spread that results from heating heavy cream slowly and then allowing it to cool while the cream content rises to the top in coagulated lumps. I’ve mentioned more than once how I’m obsessed with whipped cream, so this is just spreadable whipped cream. Amazeballs. I decided to forego making this because I really wouldn’t eat it by its expiration, and that would just be a waste of perfectly good cream. And there’s no need for that.
These are easy and just as good as those we ate less than a week ago. Too easy in fact. They took less time to throw together than the oven took to preheat. A good or a bad thing, depending on your point of view…
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 TB baking powder
- 3 TB sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 5 TB unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼ “ cubes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup currants, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse six times. Alternatively mix in a large bowl.
- Remove the cover of the food processor and distribute butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add the currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl (if doing by hand, cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs).
- Stir in the heavy cream with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer the dough to a floured countertop and knead by hand until it just comes together into a rough, sticky ball. Pat the dough onto a lightly floured surface into a ¾ “ circle, cutting the pieces with a biscuit cutter and pressing the remaining scraps back into another piece to cut until all the dough has been used up.
- Place the rounds onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until the scones are light brown, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
Serve with butter and jam. Definitely jam.
You KNOW I love jam, and every time I’ve gone back to London since I moved back stateside in 2007, I’ve come back with at least 4 jars of artisan jam produced by England’s Preserves. Not this trip, as I learned that my favorite jam proprietors were no longer sellers at the Borough Market. Big boo. Therefore I’m forced to dip into my reserves.
Please note that this post has been updated from the original with new pictures. The same witty soliloquy remains.
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