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It’s a long time since I tried making scones. I can remember making batches of the things when I was in my teens because my mum, as doctor’s wife in a small town, was ‘volunteered’ to cater for the local tennis tournament each year (apparently the doctor’s wife ALWAYS did the catering!). It sounds trivial but the event ran for two weeks in July or August and was a qualifying tournament for Junior Wimbledon. Since we lived by the sea, it was always busy…and we provided lunch and tea for around a hundred hungry tennis players and their families a day during that period. Mum relied on donations of cakes and home-made biscuits (cakes you could buy from the shops at that time were really quite inedible), and when the donations started to run out, I would be sent home to make flapjack, victoria sponge or scones.
I know where her recipe came from – the New World Radiation Cookery book, published in 1954. The page for scones is beautifully stained from my attempts to cook the things. It’s a ‘no-frills’ recipe, but it DOES rely on cream of tartar as one of the rising agents – something I didn’t find in Delia or even in the WI jubilee cookbook (another of my mum’s old recipe books).
Here’s the ingredient list
1 level teaspoonful cream of tartar
½ level teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
½ level teaspoonful salt
1-2oz butter margarine or lard
¼ pint milk
As you can see, it’s very basic – no fancy sugar or egg, no buttermilk – apart from the cream of tartar, absolutely nothing you wouldn’t have in your store cupboard or fridge anyway. I remember mum using these as the base for savoury canapés as well as offering them to us with jam and (if we were lucky) a dollop of cream. I don’t think she ever varied the basic mix. But, in my quest to see if there were other recipes around, I’d found a lot of votes for yoghurt scones. And, I just happen to have a lot of yoghurt in the fridge at the moment…
So, here are my lemon yoghurt scones in a printable format.
A traditional scone recipe perked up with tangy lemon and yoghurt
- 1/2 lb flour
- 1 level teaspoonful cream of tartar
- ½ level teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
- ½ level teaspoonful salt
- 2 oz butter
- A scant ¼ pint plain yoghurt
- One tablespoonful of caster sugar
- 1 egg
- Zest of one lemon
- Preheat the oven to 220c
- Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, bicarb and salt. It’s important to do this because otherwise the raising agents won’t necessarily get fully mixed in with the flour – I think that’s why sometimes you bite into a scone and get a bitter taste.
- Cut the butter into the flour mix and then rub in lightly.
- Mix the lemon zest with the sugar and then stir through the flour mix
- Beat the egg lightly and mix into the yoghurt, before adding most of it to the flour mix. Save a little to use to glaze the scones.
- Mix into a very soft dough and turn out onto a well-floured board. Either press out with your fingers or roll out gently to about ½ inch thick.
- Use a 2 – 2 ½ inch cutter to cut out your scones, place on a well greased baking tray and brush the tops with the remaining egg/yoghurt mix
- If you like you can sprinkle a little caster sugar on top
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops are golden
- Serve warm, split with a little butter and jam.
These were a lot lighter than I remember and there was a definite tang of yoghurt and citrus. And, worth the (very small) effort! Who knows, I might even try them again;). But, that depends on whether I carry on trying to learn how to bake!