We woke up late on Sunday. It was almost midday when we finally opened our eyes, sighed and stretched. The only acceptable form of food was brunch – too early for proper lunch and too late for breakfast. I made these scones, an adaption of my Ngonu’s traditional scones that my aunts and I have been making since time immemorial.
They’re an easily adaptable wholewheat scone, that I like because it feels ever so slightly more balanced than an all-white-flour scone would. The savouriness of the wholewheat is good early in the day, as a first flavour. I love sweet breakfasts too but sometimes, even on a Sunday, it seems too extravagant. (Particularly after eating my way around Hackney through baked goods yesterday.) We both ate half a scone with jam and the other half with jamón and tomatoes. My jam was the blackberry and bay leaf that I bought yesterday from London Borough of Jam. The earthiness of the bay leaves cut into the tart sweetness of the blackberry. Andrés ate the strawberry jam I bought for him in December from Fitzbillies.
These scones take an hour or so from start to finish, easy baking if you’re wanting a baked good on a Sunday. They key thing is to barely work the dough – gather it together and pat it out. None of the kneading or rolling that I will admit is tempting. They freeze well too – just glaze them with egg wash on a lined baking tray and place the tray in the freezer for several hours. Once they’re frozen solid, remove them from the tray and store in freezer bags until needed. You can bake them from frozen, just make adjustments to the time.
Wholewheat Buttermilk Scones
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
1/2 cup wholewheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
80g unsalted butter, cold
1 egg cracked into a 250ml cup, filled up with buttermilk
1-2 tbsp milk
1 egg for egg washing
Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the white spelt flour, the wholewheat flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a bowl and stir to combine. Cut the butter into cubes. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre and pour the egg/buttermilk mixture on top. Use a fork to initially combine the ingredients, then use your hands to bring the dough together. If it seems a bit dry, add in 1-2 tablespoons of milk. The dough should be reasonably soft, with no dry portions of flour.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat down lightly with your hands. Cut into four portions. I use the largest round cutter I have, 98mm in diameter. I usually get two scones from the initial dough and then bring it back together to cut/shape two more. (The last scone is usually pieced together from scraps.) Place your scones on the baking sheet. Crack the egg into a dish and brush the tops of your scones with egg.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes. I usually put a timer on for 10 minutes and then check the scones. This size usually takes about 18-20 minutes but my oven is also quite hot. If they start to brown but aren’t quite cooked through, turn the temperature down to 180C and cover loosely with foil. Allow to cool slightly before eating/smothering in jam.