My parents have always loved the mountains. In earlier years they would pack my two brothers and I up in the car and take us up a mountain for a weekend day trip. Winding roads, tall trees, fresh mountain air, and quite often a stop for afternoon tea consisting of scones and a pot of Devonshire tea. My parents were in their element. Us kids on the other hand, not quite so. The idea of a mountain venture was appealing, but by the time we got back down the mountain my younger brother was ill from all the winding roads and reaching for a sick bag. And my older brother and myself distancing ourselves as much possible in the rather confined space of a back seat, noses directed towards a wound down window. While ill memories remain of winding roads and smelly backseats, I still associate mountain drives with happy memories of freshly baked scones and pots of tea.
Scones alone are quite basic to make. But while the ingredient list and method are fairly simple, a successful outcome can be a little hit and miss. Overwork the dough and you end up with a rather biscuit like scone as opposed to its light and fluffy counterpart. I have had my fair share of disappointment as I take these flat and dense looking ‘scones’ out of the oven. Using a butter knife to stir through the buttermilk followed by very gentle hands to kneed and bring the ingredients together will reduce the time working the dough, increasing the chance of a light and fluffy batch of scones.
You can keep it simple and traditional and open a jar of strawberry jam. Or like I did here, slice up a batch of fresh strawberries and heat them with a vanilla bean and sugar until they just collapse. Topped with cream and a spoonful of strawberries, it’s the epitome of a perfect afternoon tea.
For recipe, click on the text page image to enlarge