I love afternoon teas -- a habit that we adopted on our first trip to England where I fell in love with an English cream tea. It's still my favorite sort of tea -- scones, really good freshly baked ones, real Devonshire cream and strawbery jam. With a cup of real English tea -- either Typhoo or PG Tips and I am transported back to an olde English tearoom.
On a trip north I was able to snag some real Devonshire cream at a reasonable price and since I could not have a cream tea alone, I invited some friends to share tea with me.
My favorite scone receipt is not English but rather inspired from a favorite, Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. Made plain for this tea without any dried fruit or currants. It's easy to do in the mixer and makes the flakest scones ever. They're the best breakfast scone when you add dried fruit, nuts and orange peel.
Besides the best scones and real Devonshire cream, I also had homemade strawberry jam with big plumb pieces of strawberry in the jam.
We also enjoyed madelines, a favorite cookie especially at tea time. This one inspired by a magazine receipt for a lemon basil cupcake. I made my favorite madelines and added lemon peel and chopped basil to the batter rather than the rosemary and orange I do so often.
We enjoyed the afternoon with pots and pots of tea, eating scones, jam and cream and leaving only crumbs of the lemon basil madelines.
Barefoot Contessa Scones
Real Devonshire Cream
Fresh Strawberry Jam
Lemon Basil Madelines
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 extra-large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk or water, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine 4 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add to the flour/butter mixture. Combine until just blended. The dough may be a bit sticky.
Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough out to 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick. You will see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch cutter and then cut in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Brush the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the outsides are crisp and the insides are done.