Earl Grey scones

I love scones so much: with a little clotted cream and jam or home-made fruit curd they are divine. Earl Grey tea scones are one of my favourites and make a perfect accompanyiment to any cream tea – or simply eaten in the garden on a warm day with a pot of tea!

A little bit of Afternoon Tea in each bite, these light scones are easy to make and even easier to eat!

And while a very traditional plain scone with clotted cream and jam is simple perfection for me, I do like the occasional twist.

Tea-infused sultanas

The sultanas have been soaked in tea overnight to plump up nicely as well as adding a good tea flavour. The moisture in the sultanas also prevent any of them that are poking out through the scones from burning!

I used Earl Grey here but I am quite partial to Lapsang Souchong for a deep, smokey flavour. However, go for a tea of choice: just brew it very strong so you get the flavour into the sultanas.

A little of the dry tea leaves mixed into the dough add further subtle tea notes.

A gluten-free scone:

You can make these scones gluten-free simply by replacing the self-raising flour with gluten-free self-raising flour. They work just as well: I have served them many times to friends who have no issues with gluten, and they could not taste the difference!

Recipe: Earl Grey scones – makes about 16 small scones

  • 70g sultanas
  • about 100ml hot Earl Grey tea, well brewed
  • 2 teaspoons Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 60g unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 110-120ml whole milk
To glaze:
  • 1 egg, beaten
To serve:
  • jam or fruit curd
  • clotted cream

(1) Either soak the sultanas in the hot tea overnight or simmer them gently together in a small pan for about 15 minutes and leave to cool fully. The sultanas should have absorbed much of the tea but pour off any excess.

(2) Preheat the oven to 200C(fan). Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Stir in the dry tea leaves and rub in the butter with your fingertips.

(3) Stir in the sugar, sultanas and then add most of the milk. Bring it all together to form a soft, but not sticky dough, adding more milk as needed.

TOP TIP: in order to keep the scones light is important not to handle the dough too much; a round-bladed knife is an excellent way to bring the dough together in the gentlest manner needed so as not to over-work the dough. Just stir it through the mixture with one hand while rotating the bowl with the other and it will rapidly come together with minimal effort. Then use your hands gently pat into a slightly flattened ball. It is also better having the dough on the stickier side.

(4) Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until about 2cm thick and use a 4cm circular cutter to cut out scones, gently re-rolling and cutting more scones out of the remaining dough as needed. If you want to go for miniature scones, use a 2cm or so cutter but roll the dough out a little thinner (otherwise the scones could topple over while they bake!).

(5) Brush the tops lightly with beaten egg, taking care not to let the egg drip down the sides (which would hinder the rise you are after). Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

(6) Split the scones and serve with jam or curd and plenty of clotted cream.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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