Apologies, but I make no apology for posting another cheese scone recipe!
Every time I have a cheese scone in a cafe or deli, I am so disappointed that I need to return home and make a batch to remind myself that they can be one of the greatest of all foods.
There is nothing better than seeing and smelling scones (some the size of a small car!), sitting on the cafe counter, fresh from the oven, when you pop in for your morning coffee.
And even though it’s nearly always an ‘eyes bigger than belly’ moment, before you know what’s happened, you’re sitting down, tearing apart the soft, still slightly warm dough and spreading on your butter.
So far, so good, and then the disappointment hits you after the first mouthful - BLAND!
Where is the cheese? I know it’s in there somewhere, I can see it, but can’t taste it!
And there is no coming back from that first mouthful. Let’s be honest, they aren’t cheap and if I’m having a cheese scone it needs to be top notch.
So, it’s back to my kitchen to prove to myself that a cheese scone can indeed be one of life’s great pleasures.
For this version, I’ve added a bunch of finely sliced spring onions and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a wonderful savoury kick. And of course, the cheese.
I’ve used Cornish Cove extra mature cheddar this time, from the Davidstow Creamery. It’s not as ‘oily’ as some strong cheddars (great for cheese scones), but it has a good length of flavour with a bit of tang - just what you need.
You can get Davidstow Cheddars in most places (including supermarkets), but I think the extra matured Cornish Cove is only from Marks & Spencer (where I got mine).
Something like a sharp and fruity Isle of Mull cheddar, or Somerset extra-matured would work as well.
So, no apologies, but if you’ve been out for a coffee lately, and faced cheesy disappointment, these will restore your faith in the mighty cheese scone.
INGREDIENTS (makes about 12 round or 8 wedges)
200g strong cheddar
440g strong bread flour
30g baking powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper (¼ tsp)
Pinch salt (¼ tsp)
80g butter, cubed and chilled
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
About 300ml buttermilk
6 spring onions, finely sliced
1 beaten egg, to glaze
Finely grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
NB: Just a quick word on the baking powder in the recipe. It is a bit more than in other scone recipes, and you might think it would unduly effect the taste, but don't worry. I don't know why, but the result is a light, fluffy scone with no bitter aftertaste. It might have something to do with the grated apple (acidic), but since I'm starting to feel I'm back at school in chemistry class, just trust the recipe and enjoy a fantastic cheese scone.
Put the flour, salt, cayenne, baking powder and butter together in a food processor.
Whizz for about 20 seconds (that's all) until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
I prefer this method as it keeps everything nice and cold and prevents my hot sweaty mitts from warming the butter. Hot hands are great if you’re playing golf or walking the dog in February, but not good for scone or pastry making.
If you don't have a food processor, or hot hands, just rub the butter in with your fingertips.
Tip into a large bowl and add the grated cheddar, spring onions and grated apple and stir through until well combined.
Pour in the buttermilk and mix until you have a soft slightly sticky dough. I use my hands a little here as it is better to get everything well mixed.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and pat down to get an even disc about 1½ inches thick. Dust with a little flour if the dough is sticking to your hands, but not too much.
You can use a rolling pin, but only with a very light touch, you don’t want to handle the dough more than you need to.
Cut out with your scone cutter (approx 6cm) for round scones or cut with a knife into 8 wedges.
Transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray and brush the tops with the egg wash.
Sprinkle over some grated parmesan and put in a heated oven at 210℃/190℃ fan for about 15-17 minutes, but start checking after 12 minutes depending on your oven.
(If you are having wedge-shaped scones, they may take a little longer than the round ones).