We’ve lived in Ireland for the better part of a year now, and in these past few months I have come to some conclusions about Irish culture:
1. “Type-B” personalities run the roost.
2. You must, MUST, support your local hurling/rugby/football team with the undying love of a mother for her only child.
3. Tea and scones are synonymous with life itself.
It is this final conclusion that has brought me to the point I am at now–that is, the point at which I have become obsessed with tea and scones (trust me, my waistline bears the proof). Of course, it didn’t take much convincing to get me to eat fresh-baked bread smothered in cream and jam. And I doubt it will for you, either. So the next time you want a homemade treat or a tasty tea or a light breakfast, just whip up a batch of Irish scones. I have to warn you, though–you just might get hooked!
Makes 4-6 delectable treats
2 cups/225 g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tablespoons/55 g butter
2 tsp/1 oz fine sugar (optional)
1 cup/150 ml milk
1 handful raisins (optional)
1 egg beaten with a splash of milk
- Preheat the oven to 400F/205C/Gas 8
- Grease and flour a baking sheet
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut it into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar (if using) and stir.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly stir in enough milk to make a soft, pliable dough.
- Add the raisins (if using) and mix them into the dough.
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and knead very lightly until just smooth, then roll out to about 3/4″ (2 cm) thick.
- Cut rounds with a 3″ cutter or an overturned glass, or cut into triangles using a sharp knife.
- Place scones on the prepared baking tray and brush with the beaten egg and milk mixture.
- Bake near the top of the hot oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack
- Serve with butter and lashings of jam and cream. Drink a cup of tea. Feel very Irish.