Fragrant Orange English Scones

When I started my tea blog last year, it seemed obvious that scones should be at the top of my tea recipes list.  After all, there isn’t any treat around as quintessentially tea-time related as the classic English Scone.

There are so many wonderful scone recipes that I have in my files, but today I’m sharing the Kensington Palace Scones recipe that comes from Bruce Richardson’s book, The Great Tea Rooms of Britain.  In it, the Tea Maestro himself travels all around the UK sharing with us the country’s most special tea venues, both humble and elaborate.

The one item undeniably found at every tea room in Britain are hot, fresh scones.  When making these scones, you finish kneading the dough with a final fold-over.  This technique gives these beauties a natural horizontal split.  Just gently break the scone in half with your hands and there it is, a perfect canvas for globs of cream and jam!  Proper etiquette would dictate that you carefully slice the scone in half with a knife, but I must say, I am partial hands-on method, especially when I’m at home and the golden mounds have just come out of the oven.

And speaking of scone etiquette, I suppose I should share with you the proper way of eating a scone.  This way, when you end up visiting one of those fancy tea rooms in Britain, you’ll know exactly how it should be done!

How to “Properly” Eat a Scone

1.  With a knife, slice the scone in half horizontally.

2.  Using the serving spoons, spoon small spoonfuls of jam and cream onto your plate (just enough for your one scone).

3.  Use the tip of your knife to spread a small amount of jam on the edge of the scone, then cream on top.  When not being used, place the knife in the upper right side of the plate, with the cutting side facing in towards the center of the plate.   Take a bite, and when you’re ready for the next…repeat!

Other “Proper” Ways to Eat a Scone:

You can also break off bite-size pieces of scone after cutting it in half.  Then use the knife to dab the small piece with jam and cream, then repeat!

Another way to eat a scone properly is to slather the bottom half entirely with jam, then cream, and then take bites as politely as possible.  You can repeat process with the top half.

Other interesting facts about scone-eating etiquette:

Never spoon the jam from the serving dish directly onto the scone!

If you are served butter instead of cream, spread butter first before the jam.

Did you know that eating a scone American style, means that you can eat it with a knife and fork?

And here’s my favorite…never eat a scone like you would eat a sandwich or burger!

If you’re wondering where I come up with these ideas, I don’t!  They came from another of Bruce Richardson’s tea books, Tea & Etiquette.  For this project, he paired up with etiquette expert Dorothea Johnson to give us these interesting tips on tea manners.  Tea & Etiquette is a really useful read if you are trying to brush up on your afternoon tea skills…scones, tea, and the like!  Consider it the Emily Post of afternoon tea.

Bake off some of these Fragrant Orange English Scones to test out your scone eating etiquette! If you are like me, it might take a few scones before you get a graceful groove going for you.  Hey, practice makes perfect, right?  Undoubtedly, the next time you take tea at The Ritz or The Four Seasons you’ll be dining confidently with class and ease!

Fragrant Orange English Scones

Makes 10- 2.5″ scones.

Note:  Kensington Palace Scones are originally made without any orange zest or glaze.  If you aren’t into orange flavor, make them plain and they are just as delicious (and most authentic) this way!

Ingredients:

{Orange Scones}

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 tsp grated orange rind

1/3 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I used Spectrum brand)

1/3 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1 egg, beaten

bench flour

{Light Orange Glaze}

2 tsp grated orange rind

1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 Tbsp orange juice

Equipment:

fine grater/zester

food processor

large mixing bowl

liquid measuring cup

fork

work surface

2.5″ round cookie cutter

rolling pin

half baking sheet

parchment paper

cooling rack with baking sheet underneath

Directions:

1.)  Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Measure out the butter and shortening.  Cut butter into 1/4″ cubes and place on a plate.  Spoon shortening into 1 tsp chunks and place on same plate.  Place plate with butter and shortening in the freezer to chill for a few minutes.

2.)  Place all dry ingredients into the food processor and pulse a few times to combine ingredients.  Add 2 tsp of orange rind, and pulse one more time.  In measuring cup, measure out milk, then add egg and beat until the mixture is thoroughly mixed.

3.)  Remove butter/shortening from the freezer and add it into the food processor with flour.  Pulse the fats with the dry ingredients several times until you get pea sized pieces of the fat covered in flour.  Dump this mixture into a large bowl, then gradually add in liquid mixture with a fork until you get barely mixed shaggy dough.

4.)  Dump the shaggy dough onto a work surface scattered with bench flour.  Knead the dough ball 8-10 times.  For the final kneading, fold the dough entirely onto itself.

5.)  Roll dough out to a thickness of 1″.  Use round cookie cutter to punch out rounds.  Use bench flour on rolling pin and cookie cutter as necessary, to stop dough from sticking.  Place dough rounds on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, at least 1″ apart.  Bake scones for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

6.)  Make Light Orange Glaze.  Mix powdered sugar, 2 tsp of orange zest, and orange juice together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

7.)  After removing scones from oven, place on a cooling rack with baking sheet underneath.  Spoon glaze over scones.  This glaze is for flavor and not looks.  It will seep into the exterior of the scone, giving the scones an extra boost of orange freshness.   Serve scones warm, with generous amounts of jam and cream.

Adapted from Kensington Palace Scones recipe in Bruce Richardson’s The Great Tea Rooms of Britain.

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