This is another savoury twist on the wonderful sweet scones that are traditionally served with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
The dough for these particular scones is flavoured with sun-dried tomatoes and a little mature Cheddar. These are ideal split and topped with a fresh herbed cream cheese (chopped basil is wonderful!) and home-made chutney or chilli jam.
These savoury scones are very easy to make and are big on flavour. They make a wonderful snack or, if served with a salad, some sliced meats, olives and the like make a great light meal.
Any size works
These are excellent served as canapés using a 4cm cutter (or an upturned shot glass to stamp out the scones!) or as larger scones as a savoury twist to an Afternoon Tea selection.
I also like to split the dough into 3 equal pieces and make 3 large scone rounds, to be sliced as you would bread – as in the picture below.
Scones are best eaten on the day they are made or the day before if you warm them up before you want them.
However, they can be made and frozen (unfilled). Simply defrost them, slice them and spoon the filling onto each half if you want to serve them “open”. Alternatively, spoon the filling on the bottom halves and pop the scone tops back on.
You then heat them in the oven at about 190C (fan) for 5 minutes or so: the filling/topping doesn’t ooze out but merely softens a little as it heats: the cream cheese takes on a rich thick sauce texture that is, I think, lovely.
Sun-dried Tomato & cheese scones – makes about 25 small (4cm) scones
For the cheese & tomato scones:
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- about 50g mature cheddar, grated, plus a little extra for sprinkling over
- approx. 30g finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not the ones in oil – unless you drain and dry them very thoroughly)
- about 110-120ml milk, plus a little extra for glazing
- *tomato powder for dusting (optional) – see below recipe
For the filling/topping
- about 250g cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon mustard made-up (English, Dijon or grain….)
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed (optional)
- fresh herbs (basil or chives are particularly good), finely chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chilli jam or beetroot chutney
- *tomato powder (optional)
(1) Make the scones: pre-heat the oven to 200C (fan). Sift the flour, mustard powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese and the tomatoes.
(2) Add most of the milk to form a soft but not too sticky dough.
(3) Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of approximately 2cm, or use the palms of your hands gently to pat it out. Cut out scones using circular cutters, re-rolling trimmings gently (if you over-work the dough the scones will become tough).
(4) Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof, brush a little milk over the top and sprinkle over a little of the remaining cheese. Dust with a little tomato powder, if using, and bake for approx. 10-12 minutes (4cm scones) until well risen and lightly browned (allow approx. 15 minutes or so for larger scones). Cool on a wire rack.
(5) Make up the cream cheese filling: mix the cream cheese with the mustard whichever herb(s) you are using and the garlic, if using. Add enough seasoning to taste: you should have a very flavoursome mixture.
(6) Split each cooled scone in half and top with a small dollop of the cream cheese mixture, a small spoonful of the chutney or chilli jam and a generous sprinkle of tomato powder if using. Replace the tops or leave “open”.
* tomato powder: I use tomatoes that I have dried in a food dehydrator until very crisp before crushing them to a rough powder. You get such an intensity of flavour that a little dusted over adds a great umami kick