Scones are the traditional centrepiece of any afternoon tea worth its salt and who doesn’t love them fresh from the oven, topped with strawberry jam and a good dollop of clotted cream. But sometimes it’s good to embrace change and such is the case with this new recipe. These scones have hints of the East about them, with the addition of saffron and rose syrup to the mix, and are topped with rose petals, making them quite possibly the prettiest scones around. What’s more they can be enjoyed as they are, they don’t need dressing up. Served on vintage china with a good pot of Ceylon or Earl Grey, that’s the afternoon tea ritual sorted.
To make 10 of the little darlings, you will need…
250ml milk, plus extra for brushing
1/2 teaspoon (a generous pinch) saffron threads
450g self-raising flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g salted butter, chilled and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
60g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon rose syrup
30ml rose syrup
2 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons shredded fresh rose petals (pesticide free)
1 Heat the milk and saffron then leave to infuse until cool, by which time the milk will have taken on a golden yellow colour.
2 Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Rub the chilled butter into the flour lightly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar, rose syrup and saffron-infused milk and mix to form a soft dough. Add a little more milk if the mixture is too dry.
3 On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the dough to 2.5cm thickness using a flour-dusted rolling pin. Cut out the scones with an 8cm round fluted biscuit cutter, dusting it lightly in flour as you cut each scone to ensure a clean cut; this helps the scones to rise. Place the scones on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper or a silicone mat so that they are almost touching. Mix the rose syrup with a little milk and brush the tops of the scones with this, using a pastry brush; sprinkle a little caster sugar on top.
4 Bake in the middle of the Roasting Oven of the Aga (or at 220*C/425*F/Gas 7 in a conventional oven) for 10–20 minutes until the scones are golden brown and sound hollow when you tap them. Turn the tray halfway through cooking; keep your eye on them and cover if the scones start to brown too quickly. Leave on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
5 For the glaze, heat the rose syrup with the caster sugar until the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool. Brush the syrup over the tops of the scones and sprinkle the shredded rose petals on top. Serve straight away. These scones are best eaten on the day they are made, but can be frozen (without the rose petal topping) and reheated to serve.
*This recipe is taken from Sweet Things From The Aga by Hannah Miles (Absolute Press £17.99), out now. Photograph by Mike CooperRead more →