Scones, the kilt among pastries

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Wait a second, aren’t scones typically British! Not exactly. Even though the little baked tidbits are as English as the Queen and Tea Time, they originated in Scotland and were invented at the end of the Middle Ages. If venerable storytellers are to be believed, scones can thank their subsequent triumph to the Duchess of Bedford. Thanks to her afternoon snacking, she came upon the idea to have buttered pastries and tea served at 5:00 PM.

But one thing at a time. If you haven’t heard of scones, you soon will. After muffins, cupcakes, bagels & co. they are the next big thing. “Hot” isn’t the exact word, because they are enjoyed warm – typically with strawberry jam and a hefty scoop of buttery whipped cream called clotted cream. Scones, as they are known and loved today, have only existed since the advent of baking powder in England. Prior to that the pastry sooner resembled our pancakes because instead of baked, they were fried in pans and thereby flatter and bigger, and served in triangular shape. Today they largely consist of wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, butter and milk. The pastries, which have a dry consistency, are not traditionally sweet and have a neutral taste. That’s why they are enjoyed with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberry or orange marmalade, precisely for afternoon tea. Fruit scones, however, have raisins and are somewhat sweeter.

 

Decisions, decisions

In addition to plain scones and fruit scones there are many other variants of the snack. With muesli, buttermilk, figs, dates or cranberries – no boundaries are placed on your imagination or taste buds. Especially beloved are hearty scones, such as with cheddar and herbs – and for non-vegetarians of course with bacon. If you would rather just add some cold cuts or cheese instead of baking, reach for fresh ham or cheddar or blue cheese.

Whether hearty or sweet, we are delighted by the alternative to cake and coffee on Sunday afternoons. Splendid!

Pictures – CREATIVE COMMONS (CC BY-SA 2.0)  Benson Kua VIA FLICKR (title picture)

 

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