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Mrs. Hudson's Scones

if you recognize Mrs. Hudson as the landlady of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, you'll recognize scones as those wonderful wedge-shaped biscuits served with tea at four o'clock to keep the gentry from getting too hungry for dinner at eight.  They're also great at breakfast. Making a dozen scones takes about half an hour... less if you have a food processor.  You need:
         2 cups all-purpose flour
         2 tsp. baking soda
         1 tbsp. sugar
         1/2 stick (4 tbsp) butter
         2 eggs
         1/2 cup heavy cream.

     Preheat oven to 425.

Making the dough

Put the eggs in a bowl and whisk them with about a teaspoon of water until the mixture is uniform.  When you add the eggs to the dough, save about a tablespoon to use as a glaze.

With a food processor... put the dry ingredients in the bowl with the metal knife blade in place.  Sift them together with 5 on-off pulses.  Cut the butter into six or eight slices and add it to the bowl. Work the butter into the flour with 15 to 20 on-off pulses; the mixture will have the consistency of corn meal.  Add the eggs and cream and process with on-off pulses until the mixture forms a ball.  Roll and cut as described below.

By hand... sift the dry ingredients together.  Cut the butter into slices and work it into the mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture is the consistency of corn meal.  Add the eggs and cream and stir until thoroughly mixed.  With floured fingers knead the dough for about one minute.

Rolling and Baking

With floured fingers gently shape the dough into a ball, then pat it flat so you have a circle.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it's about 3/4" thick; you'll have a circle about a foot in diameter.  With a sharp knife, cut the circle into four quarters, then cut each quarter into three wedges.  Put the wedges on a lightly-buttered baking sheet and brush the excess flour off the tops with a pastry brush, a feather, or the edge of a paper towel.  Brush the tops with the egg mixture and bake for about 15 minutes, until brown.

If you were Doctor Watson, you would pronounce "scones" with a short "oh."  If you were Sherlock Holmes, you'd know that they're the descendents of Scottish oat cakes and that the name comes from the Dutch word schoon, meaning bright or wonderful.

Orignially posted: 2012-02-26
Last updated: 2012-06-26 16:35