Lately I have been obsessed with foods that go perfectly with tea or coffee. I’m particularly interested in scones. In fact, I chose a scone with jam and cream to go with my flat white coffee at Thyme Square Cafe yesterday morning while I was out with my two sons and mother-in-law. Can you believe that I chose a scone over cupcakes or a slice of delicious cake? I’m still in awe of my decision, because I’m not sure how it happened!
I’ve made scones before. They were easy and turned out quite nice. So when I saw the recipe for scones with jam and cream in Issue #3 of MasterChef Australia magazine – the same recipes they used on the show for the Country Women’s Association challenge – I was sure I could make all three components quite easily.
I started with the jam. Okay, correction, this is actually called a “conserve”. It is a strawberry and apple conserve. But I keep it calling it jam! On the MasterChef episode, there were two teams in the Country Women’s Association challenge. Each team made the same dishes. When it came time to judge the jams, one team had done very well with the conserve, and the other team did not (it was too watery). My jam came out perfectly. I had to cook it about 10 minutes longer than the recipe says, but it turned out marvelous and so delicious. I have never had any sort of fruit spread that was so fresh – I always buy jars of it at the store – so I was really impressed with the fresh, strong taste of the strawberries. The recipe also includes vanilla bean paste, but as I don’t currently have any, I scraped the seeds from a Madagascan vanilla bean and used that instead. I love the little black specks of vanilla seeds in the jam, it makes appear that it’s super-gourmet!
The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month, so no worries if you have leftovers (and trust me, you will have plenty).
Next, I started on the scones. Of course, you’re not supposed to overwork the dough or the end result will be a hard, tough scone. The less you work it, the lighter it will be. I had to keep this in mind. However, for some reason, I couldn’t get the mix of dry and wet ingredients to come together! So I had to work it a bit longer than I planned… the end result of my scones were edible, but they were hard. Major disappointment! But totally my fault. On the MasterChef episode, neither teams’ scones were perfect.
While the scones were turning into rocks in my oven, I made the cream. This is a really delicious cream. It is made with cream, of course, as well as honey and mascarpone. It couldn’t possibly be a better match with the strawberry and apple conserve. My only problem with this is that it made soooo much! The scones were long gone and I still had so much cream leftover. Cream doesn’t keep as well as jam does in the refrigerator, so despite the fact that I tried to put it on as many other foods as I could, I had to throw most of it out after a few days.
If I were to be judged by the MasterChef judges on my scones, cream and conserve, I might have just scraped through to the next challenge. They would have been very disgusted with my scones, but I’m positive that my conserve would have won them over. 🙂
PS – my daughter decided that the dandelions she collected from the garden would make good props for the photo!
- For the scones:
- 450g (3 cups) self-raising flour
- 75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
- 150g unsalted butter, chopped, softened
- 125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk, plus extra to brush
- 1 egg
- For the honey cream:
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 300ml pouring cream
- 200g mascarpone
- Strawberry and apple conserve (recipe follows), to serve
- For the conserve:
- 1 green apple, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 250g punnets strawberries, halved
- 330g (1½ cups) caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 lemon, juiced
- For the scones: Preheat oven to 220C. Sift flour with sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt into a large bowl. Add butter and, using your fingertips, rub into flour mixture until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg until combined, then pour into flour mixture. Using a knife, stir until mixture just comes together; the less you work the mixture, the lighter the scones will be.
- Turn out dough onto a well-floured work surface and, using your hands, pat until 2.5cm thick. To cut out rounds, using a 5cm pastry cutter dusted with flour, press cutter straight down and pull straight up without twisting. Repeat to make 12 rounds, reflouring cutter each time you cut. Place scones 3cm apart on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Brush the tops with a little extra buttermilk and bake on top shelf of the oven for 12 minutes or until risen and dark golden.
- For the honey cream: Combine honey and cream in a bowl. Add mascarpone and whisk to soft peaks.
- For the conserve: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and stand for 2 hours. Place mixture over medium heat, stir until sugar dissolves, then simmer for 20 minutes or until thick. Cool. Transfer to a sterilized jar*. Keeps in refrigerator for up to 1 month.