Monday, 20 September 2010

Autumnal Apple and Blackberry Scones

Last week, it was National Cupcake Week here in the UK. These fashionable cakes have started off a trend in some parts of England, most notably in parts of London, The cupcake has yet to make its mark in Scotland in the same way. It got me thinking, obviously they hail from the USA, but how on earth did they have become so popular here. Many food writers have pointed the finger to a scene in Sex and the City, others to the opening of numerous American bakeries, all specializing in cupcake galore with their windows draped with ribbons, lace and floral designs; and the cupcakes piled mountain high on glass stands or antiquey-style three layer stands giving your eyes an opportunity to feast and be dazzled by vivid shades of shocking pink, verdant green and sungold yellow. The frosting and garnishing delights the eys too: all glittery and glitzy teasing your taste buds into trying the indulgent creamy topping. Then you have the bookshops stacked with various cupcake books, so that you can flick through the pages and indulge even further. I remember reading somewhere that last year Google had revealed that 'cupcakes' was one of the fastest-rising recipe search in the UK. Despite its popularity though, there is still some debate on U.K shores whether the cupcake is really a fairy cake just larger in size and topping, but I don’t want to get into that now.

I think I ought to share that although I own this book I’m not really a cupcake girl. In fact, I don’t think my blog has ever featured a cupcake, plenty of its dumpier sister - the muffin (which I adore by the way), but no cupcakes. So with it being National Cupcake last week, did I decide to participate? No sorry to disappoint, I didn’t because I was not in the mood for something that sweet. However I was in the mood to do some baking. It occurred to me to make some scones, a staple found in most British bakeries. Unfortunately because scones are rather plain and humble compared to the fashionista diva cupcake, they are somewhat beginning to fall out of favour with the British public. But not with me, a scone is just what I fancied: delicate, crumbly and light.

For those of you who may not be familiar with scones, scones are a small round cake made of raised dough, which may be sweet or savoury. Originating in Scotland, it is generally soft and light inside with a light brown crust. Scones can be eaten at breakfast or for tea. Scones were traditionally cooked on a griddle, a thick flat iron with a handle, placed on a fire or on top of the stove, they are now more often cooked in the oven.
Once I started putting the ingredients together, my eyes fell on the small bowl of ripe blackberries I had picked from the garden and some of those windfall apples. Although my original intention was to make some plain scones, this is what I ended up with: Autumnal apple and blackberry scones. Of course me being me with my cookie cutters, I just had to cut them out in the shape of an 'apple' too. These scones turned out rather good, even if I don’t say so myself. In fact I am going to boast and say that I think that even Delia Smith and Mrs Beeton would be proud of me.
The best way to eat a scone is fresh from the oven, not immediately though, give it about 30 minutes to cool down, then cut open slather generously with good butter and enjoy with a cup of Tea. If you want to indulge further, how about adding some whipped cream, maybe some hedgerow jam too.  Updated: See fellow blogger The Ordinary Cooks variation of these scones.  They look delightful.
Apple and Blackberry Scones
Makes 6
Ingredients
225g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
55g butter
30g caster sugar
100ml - 150ml milk
1 apple, grated
50 - 60g blackberries (I used fresh, but would recommend frozen)
1 egg, beaten (optional)
Method
Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Rub the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in sugar and grated apple. Make a deep well in the flour, pour in the milk slowly, you may not need to use it all and mix to a soft, spongy dough with a knife. Fold in the blackberries very gently as they will break and bleed. On a floured surface, knead the dough very lightly until it is just smooth. Roll out to about 1 inch thick and stamp into rounds with a small pastry cutter. Gather the scraps together and cut into more scones. Brush the scones with beaten egg if using for a glossy crust or brush with milk, then sprinkle with flour. Bake the scones at the top of the oven gas mark 5 for 15-20 minutes, or until well risen and brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack, or serve hot from the oven.

34 comments:

  1. What a great scone recipe. I haven't made scones for ages. I'm afraid I have succumbed to the girliness of cupcakes. I think I'll keep my eye out for some brambles tomorrow while walking the dog and if I get some, I'll give these a go. Thanks.

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  2. These sound lovely...scones are my nemesis. My evil nemesis.

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  3. These sound really delicious. I may just have enough blackberries left in the garden, but there are some in the freezer too. Thanks!
    hopeeternal
    'Meanderings through my Cookbook'
    www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

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  4. Although I am from America, I don't get the cupcake craze at all - but I've never been into cake to begin with. Too sweet. But scones, now that I can get into. And I especially love the combination of apple and blackberry (just made such a crumble last night!). Your scones look heavenly... especially with the clotted cream in the middle.

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  5. they look fantastic. I like the way you say they are "generally" soft and light inside! having tasted some doorstops in my time I know that is true! I have an aunt who is notorious for her baking. I remember her being slagged for a birthday cake she made once and being told it was like an iced pan loaf. I've got her baking genes I think.

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  6. Gorgeous! That's a really good recipe. I have some apples that I was wondering what to do with. I wish I had an apple cutter. I am definitely with you on the scones over cupcakes - every time! We have a cupcakery in the High Street, selling only cupcakes, they do look lovely but I admire the owners for not tiring of baking endless cupakes.

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  7. wow those scones look scrummy! Must give them a try !

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  8. I simply love scones... and, apple and blackberry is a delicious combo.

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  9. I was so inspired this morning that I made them and enjoyed them with a cup of tea. I have posted about it and linked it back to you. Hope you don't mind. They were wonderfully light and delicious and perfect for an alfresco lunch. x

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  10. I think that scones must be one of the UK food I most like. I didn't know that they were originally Scottish, but it sort of make sense (although I don't know quite why...) :-)

    ciao
    A.

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  11. Thank you so much Please Do Not Feed The Animals.
    Ah its okay to succumb to the girliness of cupcakes. I totally understand and have drooled over them myself. If you find some brambles and do give these a go, let me know how you find them.


    cityhippyfarmgirl
    Oh please do give them a go again, you never know - they may become a friend now :D


    hopeeternalcookbook
    These will work better with frozen, as they won't squish so much on the kneading and rolling :D


    Monica, please don't think that I'm stereotyping I'm not honestly. But the cupcake is certainly an American import, a bit like the cookie :D

    The cream in the scones did make it extra special and rather decadent.


    Thank you so much Louise.
    I think scones can be hit and miss. Beleive me I have made slightly dense versions, so know and cannot critique others.

    Shame about your Aunt getting a poor rap for her cakes, but I'm sure she's remembered and loved for the, despite how they turn out.

    Please do continue with your baking, I think the more you practice the better you get, and even if you don't get better as least your enjoy the process and the smells coming from the oven.


    Thank you Kath.
    I was rather pleased with the way they turned out. I like my apple cutter, but its rather big. I think its more for cookies and apple pie topping, than individual scones, as these were huge. If I see another would you like me to post it out to you? Let me know, and I'll keep my beady eyes out for you.


    Thank you so much Scented Sweetpeas.
    If you make them, let me know please how you found them.


    Thank you so much Rachana.
    Truly a perfect combo and so seasonal.


    Thank you mylifeinscones!


    Kath -

    Thank you so, so much. I am so honoured and humbled that you dedicated a post after little moi. Thank you so much for sharing my blog with your readers and the generous words and the link of course.

    I came over for a peek and saw your blackcurrant and apple version and was really bowled over and pleased to learn that they were enjoyed by your parents too. The blackcurrant must have given the scones are sharp flavour.


    Thanks Hannah.
    Its so funny, when the weather starts turning, I bring out the cookie cutters.


    Alessandra.
    So good to read that you like the British scones. So many High street versions are poor, so I would not have been surprised if you said you were not keen on them. Of course home-made anything is the best.

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  12. Haha, I think fairy cakes are kind of the same thing. I like the name better, anyway. ;)
    Cupcakes are beginning to be a huuuge trend. I mean, everyone knew what cupcakes were in the States but now it's all over the place. Where I work, we sell cupcakes and everyone's CRAZY for them. That's not even the main focus of the store (it's a salad-sandwich deli-type place, that happens to sell a few brownies, cookies and cupcakes on the side) but some people come in just for the cupcakes!

    I adore scones (and your scone cutter!), and these look delicious. I love how the scones are perfect for right now - blackberry season is just beginning to end, and apple season is just starting to begin. :)

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  13. nom nom nom, they look delicious. Give me a scone over a cup cake anytime. If I lived nearer I'd be hot footing it round right now ....

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  14. They were lovely, and the blackcurrants did give them a sharp edge, but I love that contrast with the sweetness. Thank you for another lovely recipe that really brightened my day.

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  15. Thanks Mo.
    Funny how some things gt hyped and become the new trend. Funny world! That place will have to open another outlet just dedicated to cupcakes i think, so those who just want a sarnie and salad can come in and be out :D

    Your right my dear blogger friend, these scones are just perfect for now.


    Nic,
    I'd have the kettle on too and i promise you there will not be a cupcake in sight :D



    Thank you, so much again Kath.
    PS Did you see my response to your first comment. Let me know x either here or via e mail.

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  16. Must try out this scone recipe sounds delicious.

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  17. I don't really understand the cupcake craze either. It seems every time I turn around there is a new cupcake shop opening up around here charging exorbitant amounts for them. I would take a freshly baked scone any day. I have a friend who had a little bakeshop/cafe where she baked the most delicious scones each morning, but sadly she closed...so it is up to me to bake them when I want one. Your photos make me wish I could reach in and grab one!

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  18. Sounds great! I love blackberries!

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  19. Thank you NEURON.


    Thank you Martha.
    Oh Yes, I forgot to mention how pricey they are too. I understand a lot of work goes into them, but still. I agree I too would take a freshly baked scone any day.

    Sorry to read that your friend had to close up her baking shop.


    Thank you so much Carissa.

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  20. Now, I was a little surprised when I saw the cupcake post as it didn't seem your thing and indeed it wasn't! The scones sound delicious. I love apple scones but have never thought of putting blackberries in as well. I love a good cupcake, but I love a good scone too.

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  21. Oh sorry Mangocheeks I forgot to respond - I am silly. I would dearly love an apple cutter, that would be wonderful, but only if you should see one. Please do not go to any trouble on my behalf. x

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  22. Yet another person who just doesn't get cupcakes. These scones look just yummy...sadly, brambles are over in London but hope to find some in the country at the weekend.

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  23. Thanks Choclette.
    You know this blogger well.
    :D


    Kath.
    Promise not to go out of my way, if i see one. I will let you know :D


    Thanks Fran.
    The brambles in Scotland haven't been the best either, all that rain, but we still do have them growing. I do Hope you find some in the country this weekend.

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  24. These scones look very tasty, Mango, especially shaped like an apple. You must have some collection of cutters.

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  25. Thank you Barbara.
    I certainly do. Like a kid has a toy box, I have a cookie cutter box.

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  26. Found you courtesy of Kath at The Ordinary Cook--so I shall have fun exploring your blog, and food adventures. Terrific looking scones!!

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  27. Waw, my friend!! These fruit scones look just STUNNING & must taste DIVINE too!

    Lovely & fab pictures too!

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  28. Thank you for coming by Nancy (and Thank you to Kath for sending you over. Glad you came by :D


    Thank you Sophie.
    All gone, but each one was Delicious and so, so seasonal. I may have a go at making some more...

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  29. your scones look fab what temp do you put them in on ?

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  30. Thanks Emma.
    Just noticed I missed that out - sorry it should be Gas mark 5.

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  31. mmm, cream tea is one of my favourite indulgences, this looks lovely!

    and i'm no fan of cupcakes either, in fact i can pretty much say i hate such sweet frosting and too much sugar in cakes overall. love how cupcakes look, but i much prefer a lovely fruit muffin. i did bake a bunch of cupcakes for little loaf's birthday do some months ago, they where lovely, but then i did change the frosting and amount of sugar quite a bit...

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  32. Thanks Pia K.

    I too admire the way cupcakes are decorated, but to eat - naw. Too sweet - but I guess there not all sweet.

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