Recipe Number One: Page 322.
I wish I could say that I approached my first recipe with enthusiasm. But, after a long day, the comfort of the sofa was calling. I ignored its pitiful cries and shook the moths out of my apron, admired my pristine Mary Berry 'Baking Bible', sadly acknowledging that it would soon be covered in butter and sugar, which would undoubtedly form a glue, sticking numerous pages together!!
I had decided to try to be more organised with this project, as organisation is not my forte! Therefore, I was careful to see what I would need, before I got carried away. I was told I would need to grease two baking trays, so I went to the fridge to get the butter. Returning, I took another look at the list of ingredients. Oh, first mistake, I actually needed softened butter! I must learn to read the recipe properly first. I had to pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up a little.
Next job was to place the self raising flour and baking powder into a bowl. No mention of having to sift them. So into the bowl they went unsifted. The SOFTENED butter is then mixed in with your hands to form something resembling fine breadcrumbs. (I did remember to weigh my butter after I weighed my dry ingredients as, if not, everything sticks to the butter residue).
My husband Neil bought the ingredients. On the list was mixed dried fruit; he had purchased a value bag. Nothing against value, but I sometimes find that it still has a lot of stalks and the fruit is hard. Usually I would have put the fruit into a small bowl, added some orange juice and heated it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to soften up the fruit. As I was sticking to the recipe, I couldn't do this. Therefore, I carried on as instructed and stirred in the very hard fruit, also adding the sugar.
As I was trying to be clever, I noticed that I needed a little milk so, before putting my hands in the dough, I had put a small amount into a glass, so I didn't get sticky dough all over the bottle of milk, as I usually do. I was quite chuffed with my foresight, until I found that I actually needed to break the egg into a measuring jug and then top it up with milk to a certain amount. I was just shy of the quantity needed, so I had to go and get the bottle of milk anyway: it is now very sticky! Again, note to self, read the whole recipe before starting!
Once all the ingredients were combined, the resulting dough was meant to be soft but not sticky - mine was sticky! I turned it out onto my floured worktop and kneaded. Mary Berry doesn't say how long to work the dough, but I have heard that you shouldn't over work it, so I just did it enough to bring the dough together and until it was soft and smooth. Also, best not to put too much flour on your worktop as it will work into the dough and could make it dry. I measured the dough with a ruler as every time I have made scones in the past, they came out like biscuits due to my rolling it way too thin. (Neil suggested that having cutters with a measuring guide would have been useful, which indeed they would have been). The last job was to cut the scones out using a small cutter, place them on the already greased baking trays and brush the tops with milk. I don't have a brush so my forefinger had to do. In the oven they went for about 10 minutes. As you can see, they are rather golden!
|Just out the oven.|
Next the taste test! I have to say, I am really pleased with them. They are definitely the best I have made. They are light and fluffy, have a good flavour and the fruit is not noticeably hard. Neil ate quite a few! His workmates, who are my trusted taste testers, had them today with just clotted cream. The feedback was very positive. The scones don't keep very well, so should really get eaten on the day of baking. A hard job but someone has to do it!
|Ready to eat.|