They are very good though, and relatively foolproof. Plenty of raising agent keeps them soft and fluffy. Don't let the solid exterior fool you.
Actually, they are very very good...
- 500g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp bicarb soda
- 4 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 50g cold butter, diced
- 25g vegetable shortening, diced (or just use butter)
- 300ml milk
- 1 egg, for glazing
Preheat oven to 220C. Grease or line a baking tray (I like to do mine straight on the tray for nice, golden bottoms).
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl (Nigella & I never sift, no need normally, but here it is essential). Rub in the butter and shortening until it resembles "damp sand". I have one of those fancy pastry cutter/mixer thingies, but fingers work just as well. Add the milk, mixing it in briefly wth your hands before turning out onto a floured surface and kneading lightly until it forms a dough.
This isn't bread, so no need for any pounding - you're really just bringing it all together.
Roll out to 3cm thick and stamp out your scones with a 6-7cm cutter (I just used a glass, but you can buy crinkled edge cutters in kitchen shops). You'll end up with 10-12 scones, with a little re-rolling and shaping to use up all the dough.
Place them on the tray, and brush with an egg wash. Nigella directs you to put them close together so they all join together and then you pull them apart to serve. Some of mine joined, some didn't. Its not imperative.
Bake for 10 minutes until golden and risen. They really are quite massive.
Serve as you like! I had mine with double cream and homemade blackberry jam. They're also yummy with cream and golden syrup or treacle.
For variations, Nigella suggests adding 75g sultanas (or other diced dried fruit) or adding 75g grated strong cheese (like a good cheddar or parmesan) for cheese scones. I've made these and they're amazing with lashings of butter.