One of the nation’s favourite tea-time treats has been given a Christmas makeover by a National Trust chef who has devised six festive scones to compete with the traditional mince pie.
The conservation charity famous for its scones served an estimated 1.3 million homemade scones at its 150 tea rooms across the country this year .
Robert Conwell, Catering Manager at Dunwich Heath on the east Suffolk coast says: “I was asked to put a festive twist on the traditional scone to ensure our visitors had something new and surprising to taste when visiting over the holiday season.
“I love scones and they are just so versatile that I thought why not take the traditional Christmas dinner as inspiration?”
The resulting flavours to brighten up Christmas day supper and Boxing day tea, as well as using up any leftovers, are:
- Smoked salmon and dill
- Butternut squash and pancetta
- Turkey, sage and red onion
- Stilton and cranberry
- Mince pie
- Christmas cake
Robert continues: “The recipes for all these creations stem from the same base ingredients; self-raising flour, butter, eggs and milk, so it really is an easy way to add something a bit different, to a traditional recipe, for family and guests to enjoy.”
Base recipe – makes 15 scones
- 1 kilo self-raising flour
- 250g salted butter
- 3 medium eggs
- Approximately 325ml of milk
Pre-heat your oven to 155°C and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Add the flour and butter to a food mixer and mix until the contents resembles fine breadcrumbs (alternatively use your hands to rub in the mixture)
Turn the food mixer back on to its lowest speed, crack in the eggs and then pour the milk slowly into the mix, keeping an eye on the contents to make sure that you put in enough milk to draw all the mix into a damp dough but not enough to turn it into a sloppy wet mixture (which would result in flat scones!)
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin to approximately 4 cm deep. I like to use an 8cm fluted cutter to cut out the scones and then transfer these to the baking tray.
Tip: When cutting out the scones push the cutter straight down into the dough (as opposed to twisting the cutter) then lift it straight out. This will ensure the scones rise evenly and keep their shape.
Push the remaining dough together and re-roll until all the dough is used. A small piece may be left over, but cook this and use it as your tester- chefs privilege after all!
Place in the pre-heated oven and leave to cook for 18-20 minutes
Tip: a good way to tell if their done is to push gently on the top, it should spring back to its original shape if cooked. Alternatively lift one up, if it’s got a golden bottom its ready to come out!
Leave to cool on a wire rack, but not for too long, savoury scones are always best served warm.
Smoked salmon and dill
Add 200g smoked salmon trimmings and a small bunch of fresh dill, leaves chopped at the dry mix stage of the base recipe.
Once the scones are cooked and have cooled down, cream cheese makes an excellent indulgent topping with a scattering of some additional smoked salmon.
Butternut squash and pancetta
Add 500g of cooked butternut squash (mashed so it mixes evenly) and 250g of cooked pancetta added at the dry mix stage.
For an optional extra add some grated cheese – a strong one would work well. Once cooked, serve with a plum chutney and more pancetta.
Turkey, sage and red onion
Add 250g of cooked leftover turkey, 1 medium red onion finely chopped and a handful of fresh sage leaves (dried sage would be fine if you couldn’t get your hands on fresh) added at the dry mix stage.
Served with cranberry sauce and more slices of turkey this really tastes like Christmas dinner in a scone!
Stilton and cranberry
Add 400g of crumbled stilton and 250g of dried cranberries at the dry mix stage. We topped ours with cranberry sauce and more stilton for a scone based alternative to biscuits with cheese!
Make a small change to the base ingredients by reducing the amount of butter to 100g and adding 250g caster sugar and a heaped teaspoon of ground mixed spice at the dry mix stage. To this we add 250g of mincemeat followed by the eggs and milk to make the dough.
Once our scones our rolled and cut out push a hole into the middle of each scone using your finger and fill with more mincemeat (another 225g should be enough for a teaspoon in each scone).
At this stage, and purely optional, we cut out a star to put on top of each scone made from a dough consisting of 200g plain flour, 50g caster sugar, 50g butter and a small amount of milk made using the exact same method as the scones themselves.
Once cooked and cooled dust with icing sugar and serve.
For this celebration of the traditional Christmas cake we include a host of festive flavours. Add to the dry base mix, a teaspoon of mixed spice, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, 250g soft brown sugar, 200g mixed fruit, 50g of mixed peel and 50g of chopped glace cherries.
Once cut out decorate with flaked almonds and once cooked and cooled glaze with apricot jam.