This week's scone recipe is a savoury one that will make six lovely scones. I'm actually more of a savoury scone kind of gal, and I can never resist a nice cheesy one. These have got a little kick, thanks to the cayenne pepper. Ooh, lip-smackingly good. For a bit of guidance on scone-making, have a look at my fruit scones post from the week before last.
6 oz (175 g) self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
½ level teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ level teaspoon mustard powder
1 oz (25 g) unsalted butter, cut into small lumps (at room temperature)
3 oz (75 g) Cheshire cheese, grated
1 rounded tablespoon of freshly snipped chives
2½-3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg
For the topping:
1 oz (25 g) Cheshire cheese, grated
a little milk for brushing
a good pinch cayenne, for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C).
Begin by sifting the flour into a large bowl, then sift in the salt, cayenne pepper and mustard powder. Give everything a good mix, then add the lumps of butter and rub them gently into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture looks like lumpy breadcrumbs.
Add the 3 oz of grated cheese and the chives and mix in (see photo above).
Break the egg into a bowl and beat it with 2½ tablespoons of buttermilk, then add half of this to the flour and cheese mixture. Give everything a bit of a mix around with a palette knife, then bring the mixture together gently with your hands to form a dough. Add more of the egg and buttermilk as needed, until you have a dough that is soft but not sticky; it should come together and leave the sides of the bowl clean (see photo below). If it seems a little dry, add the other ½ tablespoon of buttermilk.
Carefully move the dough to a floured rolling board and gently roll it out (don't forget to be gentle) to a depth of 1 inch (2.5cm) - no less... Don't be afraid to use a ruler. Next, use a 2½ inch (6 cm) fluted cutter to cut out the scones (push down, pull up, tap the dough out... no twisting). Gather any pieces that are left over together, lightly roll the dough out and continue cutting out scones until more or less all of the dough is used. Move the scones to a baking tray that has been lightly greased with butter and dusted with flour. Brush them with a little milk, sprinkle over the remaining 1 oz of cheese, then add a very light powdering of cayenne pepper (see photo below).
Place the tray on the highest shelf of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until they're a nice golden colour. Once they're ready, remove them from the oven and place them onto a wire rack to cool.