Autumn at my door means fuzzy socks and tea. Something warm and cozy for the feet and the stomach, respectively. When I lived in the countryside, hot bread was usually left at my door during the morning, and hot bread was usually done by my grandmothers in our wood-fired oven, during the afternoon. We put butter and sugar on it… And, with the tea, it was generally our sunday early dinner. I still remember the smell… delicious!
Latter, when I came to Lisbon — no homemade bread! You can say the supermarkets have it but, really… it is not the same thing. The solution was to eat other bread or drinking tea… with tea. I said no! Small things are important! They make us go through the day. I will do my own bread!
I was too naive at that time… I live in a small apartment where one thing I can not have is a wood-fired oven. And to do bread, normal bread, to continue a family tradition all by myself? No. I decided to leave the bread for the family reunions and to start my own family tradition — I was going to do scones!
Scones is not a tradition in Portugal. But if british got tea from portuguese that got tea from the chinese, there were no problem if I, a portuguese girl, took the scones recipe from the british.
My search begun. Which is the story behind scones? I found out that scones were invented by the scottish! or british! or irish! No one knows for sure. What is known is that were a Scottish poet that first mention them in 1513. Nevertheless, people started to cook before they started to write — it is highly probable that scones existed for much longer than we think. Some say scones came for an ancient Welsh tradition of cooking small round leavened breads on bakestones. But, once more, who knows?
As regards name, its origins are a little bit fuzzy. Again, we have a lot of contenders here. One hypothesis is that the scones were named after the Stone of Destiny, where Scottish kings used to sit when were crowned. Others claim it stands for the Gaelic sgonn (=shapeless mass), the Dutch schoonbrot (=fine white bread) or the German sconbrot (=beautiful bread).
And, indeed, a beautiful kind of bread. Not shapeless! No, shapeless it is not. Actually, at first, scones were triangular-shaped! And, after cut, they were griddle-baked. Now, with oven baking, they are cooked individually assuming several shapes from squares to diamonds. Once I did hearts and deformed, unrecognizable hearts came out of the oven… now, I stick to my roundish balls. They are ok.
Well, lets jump to practical part of this post. Scones are really easy and quick to do. First of all, the ingredients — you will need:
- 2 cups of cake flour
- 4 baking powder teaspoons (not soda)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1 egg
- milk, enough to add up to 3/4 cup with the egg added
I start turning on the oven — we want it to reach 200ºC (approx. 400ºF). Then, I mix the flour with the baking powder and the salt. Afterward, I beat the egg with the milk, in another bowl. Now, I usually do what I love the most — I get dirty! I add the butter first and I start to knead the dough… with my own hands. The egg plus milk mixture comes after — I slowly add it while I continue to mix the mass. The dough must be soft, not sticky. At this time, I start to make small balls, disposing them on a greased tin.
The thin then goes to the oven taking one quarter of an hour for the little scones to be ready!
I call my boyfriend:
— Let’s eat!
And I found he is already coming… The smell got him hooked. Sweet! 😉
P.S.: Oh! Almost forgot… One other thing that I learned was that, before, scones were made with oats and not with wheat flour! We are a little far from the traditional, aren’t we?