Scones: A quintessentially British trait

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Here at The Chefs’ School at the Viaduct Cafe the sunny weather has increased the demand for afternoon tea says chef tutor Paul Johnson. And what would afternoon tea be without a fruit scone served with layers of fresh cream and fruity jam?

This week I want to introduce Billy Thompson (pictured inset), one of our new apprentices at The Chefs’ School at the Viaduct.

He says: “This recipe is perfect for anyone who likes baking – it is so easy and within 20 minutes you have fresh warm scones.

“They are a massive hit here at The Chefs’ School at the Viaduct Café; we can’t make enough of them. It is really easy to swap the ingredients around too. I like to use dried cherries instead of dried fruit in mine and add a sprinkle of cinnamon to give the scones a different dimension, especially when they’re served warm.”

If cherries or dried fruit don’t quite hit the spot, then try other dry ingredients such as apricots, dates, walnuts or pecans. It really is a 20 minute task to make these scones and if you find yourself with an abundance then fear not as they’ll freeze very well ready to be pulled out at the drop of a hat.

It’s great to have a passionate new recruit like Billy on board, and we’re always looking for new chef apprentices. The Cooking School at Dean Clough will be hosting an Apprenticeship Open Day from 2-4pm on Thursday 27 June so come along!

Fruit Scones

Ingredients

• 225g self-raising flour

• 1 level teaspoon baking powder

• 25g – 50g sugar

• 50g butter

• scant 150ml milk

• 50g dried fruit

Equipment

• mixing bowl

• teaspoon

• tablespoon

• table knife

• measuring jug

• flour dredger

• 5-6 cm fluted cutter

• baking tray greased

How to make it

1. Heat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark Seven. Place all the dry ingredients and the butter in the mixing bowl. ‘Cut’ the butter into the dry ingredients, then with the fingertips, rub the butter in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. With the table knife, make a ‘well’ in the centre of the mixture. Add 4-5 tablespoons of milk and, with the knife, mix to a soft, but not sticky, dough. (Add more milk if the dough is crumbly.) Knead the scone dough very lightly until it is smooth.

3. With the palm of your hand, press the dough to a 2-3 cm thickness and cut the scones out with the cutter, flouring it first so the scones come away easily. Place the scones on the greased baking tray. Gather up the scraps of dough, reshape into the same thickness and repeat.

4. Bake the scones for 10 minutes or until they are well risen and golden brown.

What’s on at the Cooking School

Sat June 22 - A TASTE OF ITALY – cook real Italian cuisine to kickstart your summer (£145)

Thurs July 18 - BEER TASTING – sample Yorkshire’s best beers and food to match (£39)

Sat July 20 - MEDITERRANEAN SUMMER – gorgeous Greek, Spanish and Italian dishes (£145)

Wed July 24 & 31 - CHOCOLATE - discover irresistible new ways to cook with this magic ingredient (£75 for 2 nights)

Wed August 7 - JUNIOR CHEFS’ CLUB - your 8-12 year olds will learn new skills every time (£45)