Scones. It couldn’t be anything else this morning. I wake up to the sounds of pitter patter on the air-conditioner, whose arse hangs outside the window. The first definitive indication that it’s raining. Most people would grumble because of rain at the weekend. But in this house, it means it’s time for rain food! When the mood is for Indian rain food, the canola oil, chickpea flour, and rumbling tummies immediately make their way to the kitchen counter, for pakoras, poori chole. But it’s seven in the morning. And I am not a maniac. I’m in the mood for an English, innit.
There are scones and then there are British scones. The addition of that one proper noun makes s a world of difference. British scones, filled with fresh blueberries and grated lemon zest. It isn’t a decision I arrive at lightly. After the rain, I listen to Sona’s stomach creak like a metal pipe being shifted. At one point I believe it says, “feed me!” which is characteristic of her stomach.
When people think of British food, they immediately think of fish and chips, bangers and mash, or pea soup, and completely bypass the glorious scone. For a proper British scone, it’s served with clotted cream, which I’ve never liked, even though I was enthralled with the idea when I first read about it in mystery novels by Enid Blyton. Give me jam. Give me butter. The simple things in life.
I like American scones fine, but I have to be mentally prepared for them, and it’s still a shock to the system when the intense sweetness, cake-like texture, cut into triangles topped with more sugar thappar-maars me right in the face. As much as you prepare yourself for a thappar, a thappar is still a thappar. I generally don’t translate things, but I did use the word thappar five times in a row: it means a slap. The must have ingredient for American style scones is something we never just happen to have at home: heavy cream. I don’t do things like mix 3/4 cup whole milk with 1/4 cup butter as a substitute for heavy cream. It goes against my religious and cultural beliefs. Like using instant mashed potatoes. It takes out the level of spontoneity I like to pretend I have. That’s a nice way of saying I don’t want to leave the house to go to the grocery. In short: heavy cream can go to hell.
Whether you’re making American or British scones, they’re incredibly easy to make. Here is my recipe with a bit of whole wheat flour to give you the impression you’re eating a healthy scone. Eat all 8 of these in one sitting and feel good about yourself because of the whole grains, and don’t let anyone talk you into burning calories by doing things like walking, or whatever it is people do to burn calories.
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- a bit of salt
- One stick of very cold butter, cut into small pieces (8 Tablespoons)
- 2 cups of blueberries (use less if you are opposed to too many antioxidants)
- lemon zest from 1 or 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup of milk, leave a bit for brushing the tops
- 2 eggs
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter, mix it with your fingers until the texture is crumbly and the butter the size of small beans. Don't use an electric or stand mixer.
- Add the blueberries and lemon zest.
- Whisk milk and eggs in a cup. Pour this mixture into the bowl. Mix it lightly, just enough for it to form into a ball. Knead it onto a floured surface.
- Fill muffin pan with the dough.
- If you want your life to be more complicated, roll it out and cut circles from glasses. If you like triangles, squares, or rhombuses, do what you want to shape the dough; it just needs to be thick, about 2 inches or thereabouts. Otherwise you'll be baking scone cookies. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
- Transfer to muffin pan, pizza stone, or cookie sheet. Optional: Brush tops with the remaining milk and egg mixture, then sprinkle with sugar. I skip this because I find it to be sweet enough with the blueberries.
- Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let them cool for five minutes.
How could the perfect morning be any more perfect? Serve these gorgeous scones with Sona’s kickass Adraki Chai recipe (and whatever you do, don’t ever call it chai-tea in front of her).