Hot Cross Saffron Scones

hot_cross_saffron_sconesA twist on the traditional buns, these scones make a nice change and come together very quickly unlike their yeasted cousins. I mis-read the original recipe and used a larger cutter to stamp the rounds out with – therefore, these are not very thick but I rather liked the way they turned out.

hot_cross_saffron_scones

Start by steeping the saffron – you don’t need a lot of this gorgeous spice to get a huge amount of flavour, heady perfume and colour. Also get the crosses ready – having the scone dough waiting while you do this later will not be doing it any favours! I have detailed the order of play in the instructions below.

hot_cross_saffron_scones

Rub the butter into the flour – it should be a bit lumpy. You could do this step in a food processor but as it is the only time you will need to use it for this recipe, I think it is a bit of a waste of time. By the time you have got it out and set up, you can have the step done by hand. Then mix in the sugar, fruit and spices. Whisk the liquids and add to the flour mix.hot_cross_saffron_scones

Gently bring the dough together in the mixing bowl. lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough.

hot_cross_saffron_scones

Stamp out the rounds and place on the prepared tray

hot_cross_saffron_scones

Brush with milk, place the crosses and brush with milk again.

hot_cross_saffron_scones

Glaze with the sugar syrup while they are still hot!

hot_cross_saffron_sconesEat buttered and warm.

Not only is is Good Friday but it’s also Fiesta Friday over at Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener. Time to join the party with these scrumptious scones in hand!  See ya there…

hot_cross_saffron_scones

Click on the link to be taken to Angie’s wonderful blog The Novice Gardener and join the party! Mix and mingle with the the guests – who knows who you might meet! http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/fiesta-friday-12-2/

If you blog and would like to join the party, here are the guidelines http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/

Hot Cross Saffron Scones

  • Servings: 8 - 9 scones
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Hot Cross Scones by Silvana Franco for Delicious Magazine

INGREDIENTS

For the crosses

  • 50g flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water

For the scones

  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 teaspoons just boiled water
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 75g room temperature butter
  • 40g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons milk

For the glaze

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons just boiled water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F and line a baking sheet with paper.
  2. Crumble the saffron strands into a small glass and add 2 teaspoons of boiling water – set aside to steep.
  3. Make the crosses by stirring in the water into the flour and kneading until it comes together as a dough. Cover and set aside to rest.
  4. Place the self raising flour in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs – you want to have some tiny lumps of butter to make the scones tender…
  5. Stir in the sugar, sultans, mixed peel, and nutmeg – make sure all is evenly distributed.
  6. Roll out the dough for the crosses and slice into enough strips to make the crosses. You should have more that you need. Put on a plate and cover.
  7. Lightly whisk the egg then add the milk and the saffron and whisk again.
  8. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the egg mix and with a light hand, bring it together to form a dough. Do not over mix or the scones will be tough.
  9. Lightly flour your work surface and tip out the dough. Lightly flour the top and pat it into an oblong shape and gently roll out – mime ended up being 2 cm thick.
  10. Stamp out 8 or 9 3 inch rounds – I got 6 then with the trimmings, I patted them together gently, divided into three and hand-formed 3 more scones.
  11. Brush the tops with a little milk and form the crosses on them and brush them with milk too.
  12. Place on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
  13. In the meantime mix the sugar and water to make the glaze
  14. Once the scones are done, brush with the glaze.
  15. Eat warm and buttered!

Fruited Soda Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

I have been intending to make a soda bread ever since baking one on Nina Oortman‘s brilliant bread making class.  (You can read the post I wrote about that class – Bread Angel –  Nina Oortman  by clicking on the link.)  I’ve mulled over different flavour combinations and wondered if my temperamental oven would render the bread inedible. I finally took the bull by the horns and made one, lightly perfumed with rosemary and scattered through with mixed peel, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. It was very nice indeed. Lovely with a piece of cheddar as an after school snack.

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

Soda breads are so quick and easy to make – they are made without yeast and don’t require any kneading either. In fact, the less the dough is handled, the better. One has to work quickly as the baking soda starts to react pretty much straight away with the buttermilk so I wasn’t able to stop and take photos of the process this time. It will work with all sorts of different combinations of ingredients, sun dried tomato and feta cheese; cheddar and spring onion; raisin and cinnamon, chopped olives and mozzarella…

Buttermilk – The name conjures up bucolic images of  metal canisters of rich creamy milk at the barn door full of fat globules of yellow butter floating in it. Buttermilk is nothing of the sort. Originally it was used to describe the whey that was left behind after butter had been churned from cream. Today it is made from pasteurised skimmed milk to which a culture of lactic acid bacteria added. The lactic acid works on fermenting the lactose, ( the main sugar in milk) decreasing the PH which causes the milk to clabber or get thicker and taste sour. 100ml contains 59 kcals, 0.1 g of fat, 7.8g sugar, 8.8g carbohydrate and 5.5g protein which is quite respectable. Buttermilk is often used with baking soda as a raising agent as the acid activates the bicarbonate to produce carbon dioxide, thus producing pockets of air in baked goods like scones, pancakes and soda bread. It is wonderful for tenderising chicken in a marinade and making salad dressings too.

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

Polish Buttermilk

If you come across any shops with Polish groceries, then look for Maslanka in the dairy section, which is the Polish name for buttermilk.

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary

Fruited Soda Bread with Sunflower Seeds and Rosemary

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Nina Oortman’s Bread Angel Baking Class

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g strong white or plain flour (not self raising)
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (or baking soda)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50 g mixed peel
  • 50 g dried cranberries
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary needles
  • 300 g buttermilk (or full fat milk with lemon juice)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a good solid baking tray with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until it is well mixed and aerated.
  3. Gently stir in the dried fruit, seeds and rosemary.
  4. Make a well in the middle of flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk.
  5. Using a dinner knife, cut in as quickly and gently as you can until all the buttermilk has been absorbed and you have a scraggy dough. Do not over mix or your loaf will be tough.
  6. Scrape the dough onto the prepared tray and shape into an oval or a round. Using a serrated knife, slash a deep cross through it. This helps with heat distribution but tradition has it that it was to let the devil out! Sprinkle a little flour over the top.
  7. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes depending on how hot your oven is. The loaf should sound hollow when you tap the base.
  8. Delicious warm and best enjoyed on the day it is made.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you are in or around Malvern and want to learn how to make this and yeasted breads, Nina has added another bread making class to the roster  – click on the link for more information or if you would like to book yourself in – http://www.ninasbakery.co.uk/classes.html

fruited-soda-bread-with-rosemary