January 13, 2020

Fortnum & Mason's scone recipe

After the holidays, it's nice to have a lighter schedule.  I'm enjoying the slower pace and having time to do things, like read, again.  That said, I'm happily staying busy in the kitchen in the new year.  In fact, I've been paying attention to satisfying all my random food cravings!
These cravings run the gamut, from steel cut oatmeal to veggie stews, to, of course, chocolate.  One recent craving I've been having was for scones.  I think it may have something to do with my vague idea for a Christmas afternoon tea of sorts during the holidays that I couldn't manage to make happen.  So with more time to cook more random things, it was time to make another batch of scones!

I have developed a preference for British-style scones (which are lighter, more cake-like than the American counterpart), particularly after having an amazing afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason in London a couple of years ago.  I came home from that trip to London and wrote about making Battenberg cake and jammy dodgers and I realized I never posted about Fortnum's scones, which I've made a few times as well.  
I started making them after Fortnum published their scone recipe in their cookbook published in 2017.  I had to get my hands on some '00' flour first.  This superfine flour is common in Italian cooking, for making things like pasta; I'm happy to note that it's a lot easier to find this flour now and I can pick up a bag at my local Whole Foods.

I am admittedly quite shaky (i.e., bad) at making things like scones, biscuits, and pie dough.  But, somehow, I keep trying.  So my Fortnum scones don't come out quite as lofty, or uniform, or nearly as beautiful as the real deal.  However, they still taste wonderful!  These scones are delicate in a way - light and soft in texture, and sweet.  They are less buttery and heavy than American scones and more cake-like; they almost melt in your mouth.  After eating the latest batch this past weekend, I realize why I've been craving them! 
When I make British scones, I always get the urge to make a small batch of lemon curd to go with it.  I did just that this past weekend.  It felt so nice to sit down, split open a freshly-baked scone, and slather it with a little homemade lemon curd.  As much as I was enjoying the combination, I couldn't help but think how much I like these scones all by themselves, just enjoying the taste and texture of them.  Needless to say, I was really happy I paid attention to this particular craving and wanted to put down the recipe here.

What's the "secret" to Fortnum's scones?  It might well be the '00' flour, or maybe it's the short rest times you give the dough.  
For my small family, I typically make half the published recipe at a time, which makes for about five 2 1/2 inch round scones.  For whatever reason, I always end up with less in terms of quantity than I expect when I make things like scones and biscuits.  Sometimes, I like to cut some smaller size scones as well to mix it up.
I have adjusted the published recipe a little bit after baking these a couple of times.  I use a little less sugar and I find that I have to use a bit more milk to bring the dough together.  I also like to roll the dough out a bit thicker than suggested.
You can make the scones ahead of time, freeze them to bake whenever you're ready.  I highly recommend a small batch of lemon curd (I use the small-batch recipe I discovered for these biscuits: here) but they are good with the usual accompaniments of jam, butter, clotted cream, and/or honey.
This literally was a breakfast of my daydreams.  I love that I can satisfy my cravings and enjoy Fortnum's scones right here in my own home.  Whatever you're craving, I hope you pay attention and plan to treat yourself soon, and often!


Fortnum's Scones
Adapted from Fortnum & Mason, published in the The Cook Book 

- Makes about ten to twelve 2 1/2 inch round scones - 

400 grams '00' Flour
20 grams baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
115 grams unsalted butter, diced and cold
70 grams caster (superfine) sugar (original recipe calls for 80g if you prefer sweeter)
Approximately 225 ml whole milk, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
Confectioners sugar, for dusting

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Add butter and rub together with your fingertips until fine crumbs form (texture should be like breadcrumbs, without large pieces, as shown here).

Stir in the sugar.  Add milk, starting with 175 ml, adding more milk, as needed, until a soft dough comes together.  Avoid over-mixing the dough, which could make it heavy.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.  

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into about a 3/4" thickness.  Cut out scone rounds using a 2 or 2 1/2 inch round cutter.  Re-rolling scrapes where necessary.  Place scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let rest for another 30 minutes.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush the tops of scones with the lightly beaten egg and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until scones have risen and are lightly golden on top.  Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool.  Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.  

Scones are delicious on their own and irresistible when split and filled with things like lemon curd, jam, butter, clotted cream, and/or honey.  


  1. We adore scones, esp. with some homemade fruit curd or a huge chunk of butter :-))



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