British Scones

Photography: Michael Hart

In Devon and Cornwall, folks argue over whether the cream or jam goes on first, but these West Country treats are winners however you serve them.

Scones are found in various guises all around Britain. Earlier versions tended to be baked as one large cake and broken into wedges later – Northumberland’s “singing hinny” is one surviving example. Scones, clotted cream and jam are a match made in heaven – or, rather, in an abbey, as this teatime delight is said to have first been offered by the monks of Tavistock Abbey in 1105 to the Earl of Devon and local workers as thanks for restoring their monastery.

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cooking time 15 minutes
  • Portion size 8 servings



Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Place a baking tray in the oven to heat.

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs, then stir in the sugar.

Heat the milk gently in a pan until warm, then stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Using your hands, make a well in the dry mixture, then pour in the warm milk and mix together with a knife. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently fold over 2 or 3 times until slightly smoother. Gently roll out to a thickness of 4 cm (11⁄2 inches).

Using a 5 cm (2-inch) cutter, cut out 4 rounds. Bring the remaining dough together and repeat until you have 8 scones. Brush the tops with the egg, then transfer to the hot baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Cool slightly, then cut in half and fill with clotted cream and jam.



self-raising flour – a.k.a. self-rising flour; flour with leavener added, usually baking powder (sometimes baking soda), often available in Canadian supermarkets

caster sugar – superfine sugar, usually available only in the white (not golden) variety in North America

semi-skimmed milk – 1% or 2% milk

Cornish clotted cream – rich, thick, buttery spread from Devon or Cornwall made by boiling cream to reduce its water content, thereby concentrating the flavour; clotted cream has protected status in the E.U. to prevent imitators, so look for the real thing in import stores




Nutritional facts Per serving: about

  • Calories 397
  • Total fat 19.4 g
  • Saturated fat 11.9 g
  • Sodium 700 mg
  • Sugars 16.8 g
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British Scones