What makes a perfect scone?

ABC NSW radio 1233 with Carol Duncan live from the Sydney’s Royal Easter Show

on Monday 12 April 2010

CWA Scones with strawberry jam and cream

The CWA (Country Women’s Association of NSW) do a roaring trade each year at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show selling their famous scones and jam. So much so that Del, the CWA show treasurer this year, posted a tally of cumulative sales each day, with the figures added to a graph comparing 2010 to the last 3 years. A certain friendly rivalry could be detected amongst the hard working volunteers to see if they could outdo 2007, the year sales reached 35,000!

The queue at the CWA counter was daunting but it didn’t deter people who waited patiently in line chatting to their  ‘queue neighbours’ like long lost friends while watching the quiet efficiency of the volunteer kitchen staff mixing, rolling and cutting vast amounts of dough to produce vast trays full of freshly baked scones. The aroma alone was enough to keep people entranced, but what’s not to like about a tray of freshly baked scones, served with a thick layer of strawberry or apricot jam and a generous dollop of whipped cream?

The new lookCWA cookbook was also on sale, relaunched after being converted to metric. There is a scone recipe in the book, but it seems the ‘real’ CWA scone recipe is a secret, only available to members who have earned such knowledge. I don’t know what that means, but needless to say the charming CWA ladies would not even give any hints. So, like everyone else I will have to make do with the recipe from my old copy of the CWA cookbook or from the recipe card given out at the Show for Best Ever Scones, printed below.

So, what makes the perfect scone? Even size, straight sides, golden tops, flour free bases, soft flakey crumb? But is there such a thing as a perfect scone, really? No idea, but I’m happy to eat my way through the testing results trying to find out.

For more information about the Country Women’s Assoication of NSW go to http://www.cwaofnsw.org.au


CWA plain scone

Best Ever Scones

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cooking time: 15 minutes    Makes 12

3 cups plain flour

1  1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

75g butter

1 – 1  1/2 cups milk, approximately

Extra milk for glazing

To serve

Strawberry jam

Whipped cream

Method

  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Cut butter in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add 1 cup milk and mix quickly with a knife to a soft dough, adding more milk if needed. Knead a few times.
  • Dust an oven tray with flour. Lightly press scone dough out to 2cm high, cut into 12 even-size pieces or use a scone cutter. Leave a 2cm space between scones.
  • Brush tops with milk. Bake at 220OC for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Slice scones in half.  Spread jam on each half and top with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Note: 3 cups self raising flour can be used instead of plain flour and baking powder.

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