English Tea Scones

Afternoon tea just wouldn't be complete without English Tea Scones! These beautifully risen, light and wonderfully tasty scones are easy and quick to make with a few simple guidelines....

Scones can be plain, or they can contain some dried fruit, such as sultanas or raisins.

I prefer to use sultanas, because they are almost as plump and juicy as raisins, but they are not too big for delicate little scones.

This particular recipe uses milk, rather than buttermilk. Buttermilk makes beautiful scones (see buttermilk scones), but I don't always have buttermilk in as a store cupboard ingredient. 

Sometimes I use a 2 1/2 inch cutter, which makes what I think of as an averaged size scone. But if I am putting on a full afternoon tea spread, I prefer to use a smaller (2 inch) cutter so that the scones don't fill people up too much. 

Some people use straight sided cutters and others use fluted ones. It really is a matter of preference. Personally, I prefer the look of fluted scones. 

Scones are best eaten as soon as possible after they are cooked. We often eat them as soon as they are cool enough to handle.

English tea scones do freeze well, if any are left over. I never make them purposely for freezing, though, since they are so quick and easy to bake freshly.

English Tea Scones

Level: Easy
Time: Ready to eat in 30 minutes
Makes 6 large or 9 small scones

225 (1 1/2 cup) plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour

A pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons of caster (fine) sugar
40g (1 1/2 tablespoons) butter at room temperature
140ml (2/3 cup) milk
60g (1/3 cup) sultanas

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425F, gas mark 7.

  • Cover the baking sheet with baking parchment.

  • Sift the flour into a large bowl. Hold the sieve up high to get plenty of air in.

  • Put the butter in with the flour and use your fingertips to very lightly rub the butter into the flour. Don't over rub. The butter needs to be in flakes with the flour, rather than fully into crumbs.

  • Add the sultanas, sugar and salt. Mix together with your fingertips gently.

  • Add most of the milk and use a metal knife to stir the milk in. As the mixture comes together, you can decide if you need to add the last of the milk.

  • You want the mixture to come together into a soft, but not sticky, dough.

  • You should be able to pick it up and gently knead it together, just 2 or 3 times, to make a ball. Do not overwork the dough, or the scones will not rise properly.

  • On a lightly floured surface, gently press the dough out with your hands to a depth of about 1 inch. The key to well-risen, light scones is that the dough must be no thinner than this.

  • Choose either a 2 1/2 or 2 inch cutter. Dip the cutter into some flour, and then sharply tap out the scone. Do not twist, or the scones will not rise properly. When you gather the dough to cut out the remaining scones, handle as little as possible.

  • Place the scones on the baking sheet and lightly dust with flour.

  • Bake in middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes for large scones, or 10-12 minutes for small scones. The scones should be lightly brown on the top.

  • Take them out and eat them as soon as they are cool enough.

Serve with

English tea scones are an easy option to have for a quick snack in the afternoon, and we often have them with jam, butter and whipped cream.

I prefer to serve them with clotted cream, but if you can't get hold of any, then whipped cream is lovely. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape and serve in a bowl.

I think they go well with a selection of finger sandwicheschocolate zucchini cake, or perhaps some dark chocolate cupcakes, apricot tarts and a lovely cup of tea.

For a full spread, I prefer traditional English Breakfast, or Earl Grey. But I do also think that Rooibos, goes very well with all afternoon tea food.

If you loved English Tea Scones, you might also enjoy
these delicately flavoured Lemon Scones.