(first published in Sainsbury’s Magazine)
You know that feeling, when it’s not quite warm enough for a salad but past the point where full-on winter baking seems right. These cheese scones, very light and rich with cheddar and cream, had my hand creeping back to the tray for another one, then another, as soon as they were warm enough to eat. Make them small, as the ratio of crust to crumb is better that way.
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp English mustard powder
25g soft butter, plus extra for spreading
a small bunch of parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
175g mature cheddar, coarsely grated
1 large egg, separated
100ml cold milk
50ml cold double cream
25g golden linseed or sunflower seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7. Sieve the flour, baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt and the mustard powder into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips then toss in the parsley and the grated cheddar with a fork.
2. In a bowl whisk the egg white, milk and cream, add this to the dry ingredients, saving the yolk. Using a fork mix to a sticky dough.
3. Flour the worktop, scrape the dough onto it, then knead it gently. Pat the dough out to about 3-4cm thick and lightly flour the top. Scones can rise by as little as a quarter when baked but spread considerably and still taste great, so try to keep the dough quite thick if you want them tall.
4. Cut out the scones using the cutter, press down smoothly in one go. Lift the cutter out then run around the inside with a knife to loosen the dough. The cheese and cream make the dough extra sticky, so cutting is tricky. If you’re in a rush just cut into squares with a knife. Place on the baking tray, spaced 3-4 cm apart, brush with a little beaten yolk, thinned slightly with water, then sprinkle the tops with the seeds. Re-roll any dough so you use all of it.
5. Bake the scones for 15 -20 minutes until golden. Fan ovens can cause the scones to twist as they rise, but I like the charm of that. Serve warm with butter.