Mini lemon & clotted cream scones

As I have mentioned in many of my posts, I adore small-scale bakes and any bake that relates to Afternoon Tea (my favourite type of treat) immediately piques my interest.

The recipe for these scones has been donated by Whitworths as part of the Whitworths Baking Challenge, although I have made a few variations. These lemon-flavoured scones are very light, they melt-in-the-mouth and the juicy bursts of the sultanas in every bite are glorious. Eaten with clotted cream and lemon curd they are ridiculously hard to resist!

A natural sweetness:

These scones have just the right amount of sweetness, coming mainly from the natural sweetness of the sultanas, and the subtle sharpness of the lemon in the dough adds a refreshing citrus back-note.

I have used sultanas before in my bakes that are on the dry side for scones and cakes, and are prone to burning if they are on the outside of a dough. These Whitworths sultanas are very moist and retain their texture and flavour as they bake. The few sultanas poking out of the scone dough did not burn as the scones bakes: result!

Recipe variations:

As I am such a fan of tweaking great recipes I have also made these scones by soaking the sultanas overnight in hot tea (just enough to cover them). Darjeeling is particularly sublime here! It is not that the sultanas need the moisture at all, but the soaking gives a hint of tea flavour in the scones that complements Afternoon Tea so joyfully.

And that age-old question: what goes on first; the preserve or the cream?

For me there is no contest: the cream goes on first, followed by the lemon curd! It always has for me. I suppose, subconsciously, the cream is like the butter spread on fresh bread: that goes on first, followed by whatever delicious topping is to hand…but who knows? And in the time it takes to over-think the process, I could have eaten another scone……….

Recipe: mini lemon & clotted cream scones – makes 24

  • 90g sultanas
  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 35g golden caster sugar
  • 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
  • 75ml full-fat milk

To serve:

  • 120g lemon curd
  • 220g clotted cream

(1) Preheat the oven to 180C(fan)/200C (non-fan)/gas mark 6

(2) Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Mix in the lemon zest and rub in the butter with your fingertips.

(3) Stir in the sugar, sultanas and then add the egg and most of the milk. Bring it all together to form a soft, but not sticky dough, adding more milk as needed. NB: in order to keep the scones light is important not to handle the dough too much.

TOP TIP: 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.

(4) Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until 1.5cm thick and fold over half of the dough onto itself, patting it lightly together: this will give a natural break as it bakes, making it easier to split with your hands, although rolling out the dough to about 2.5cm thick without the folding also gives a decent split.

(5) Cut into 24 small scones using a 4cm circular cutter, gently re-rolling and cutting scones out of the remaining dough as needed. NB: re-roll the trimming gently, otherwise the resulting scones could be heavy.

(6) Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

(7) Split the scones and serve with lemon curd and clotted cream.

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