A muffin is an indulgence, and I refuse to regard it as that of an adequate breakfast food. A treat to be enjoyed, yes, but still more akin to a dessert than a major food group. A scone, however, is more of a staple. Despite indifference towards girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, to me slicing through a freshly baked scone, still hot from the oven, and lathering it with clotted cream and jam, or even enjoying it plain, is one of my favourite things. Of butter I am not a fan, but virtuous or luxurious, scones are a perfectly acceptable regular appearance in a person’s diet. It reminds me of weekends spent in the west of Ireland with my friend’s family, and waking up on Sunday mornings to the homely scent of scones baking in the oven.
Needless to say I was delighted to receive an invitation to a BYO-Scone party at the weekend – a wonderful alternative to the regular chaotic rendezvous that are so often part-and-parcel of college life. The idea was simple – bring your own plate of scones or alternative baked goods to be enjoyed amidst chatter and numerous cups of tea. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, what could be more enjoyable? The food was scrumptious – tables and counter-tops laden with an assortment of scones, cakes, pastries and doughnuts. Piling my plate high with gooey, gluten-free chocolate brownies and coffee cake, I made a vow that this would be the first of many tea parties. We drank cup upon cup of tea and sampled each and every morsel of food, reminiscing over old stories and memories, like grandmothers disguising their age in deceptive lipstick and heels.
Later that evening, on regaling my brother with the events of the day, he smiled knowingly as I revealed my contribution to the tea-party – “It’s such a Sophie thing to bake”. Never one to stick to the basics when trying to impress, my plum and ginger scones had been both a tribute to my favourite season, and to Joy the Baker, one of the most fabulous food bloggers, as I adapted a recipe of her own. Aghast by the price of raspberries in the supermarket, which the original recipe had called for, the more affordable, seasonal plums proved both delicious and extremely economical. The wet dough made for a higgledy-piggledy appearance, more akin to a rock bun, as it was quite difficult to roll out and shape, but scones themselves still tasted delicious – moist, full of flavor and extremely satisfying. I may not be bringing my own scone next time – I think I’ll keep them all to myself!
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Plum, Oat & Ginger Scones
210g Plain Flour
45g Light Brown Sugar
1tbsp Baking Powder
½tsp Baking Soda
¼tsp Ground Nutmeg
½tsp Ground Ginger
150g Cold Butter
3 Plums (chopped into small pieces)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. In a larger bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ginger. Cut the butter up into small cubes and rub into the dry mixture, using the tips of your fingers, until the consistency of breadcrumbs. Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. It will be a very wet and sticky mixture. Fold in the plums until just combined. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin. If possible, attempt to shape with a circular cutter, or else improvise like me, and cut out shapes using a sharp knife. Place the scone shapes onto the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm or cool, equally delicious either way. However, due to the high moisture content of the plums, these scones will not keep for too long (but due to how tasty they are, I’ll doubt you’ll ever get to discover that).