I should say right away that my mother was an excellent baker – her cakes, puddings and biscuits were always delicious. She baked every Saturday morning and sometimes, if the big hungry family ate everything too quickly, during the week.
The biscuit and cake tins were always full despite Dad’s insatiable appetite for sweet things. When my parents visited me after I left home Dad would prowl around the kitchen looking for something to have with his cup of tea. Sadly, the cupboard was often bare and the best I could offer was bread and jam.
The most precious thing about this recipe is that it’s written in Mum’s lovely handwriting. The recipe came originally from Dad’s grandmother who was from Devon, home of the original Devonshire Tea. Much is written and discussed about the ‘correct’ way to apply the jam and cream. In Devon good clotted cream is spread over a split scone and topped with a dollop of jam. I don’t usually do it this way as the jam often slides off after the first greedy bite.
I’ve eaten some very ordinary scones – some including egg which makes them more of a cake. To me, this family recipe makes the perfect scone. Light with a fine crumb but firm enough to hold a generous topping. Using icing sugar rather than granulated sugar helps to keep the texture fine and light. When Mum made these scones they often rose up to a great height and split easily in half with no need for a knife to cut them. I aspire to those results!
I have a lovely set of cutters made from stainless steel. I remember Mum using one made by my brother in metalwork class. She sometimes used a tumbler dipped in flour. If you prefer, the dough can be cut into squares or pressed into a round and cut into wedges. But nothing beats a good, old-fashioned round scone laden with whipped cream and home-made jam. With a cup of tea, of course.
The recipe I use is basically the same - I've attached it with my extra instructions included.