Scones, freshly cooked and served still warm from the oven, with lashings of butter, jam and cream, are one of my favourite treats. Scones shouldn't be fussy to make. They need to be mixed quickly, baked quickly and then enjoyed. These scones only need to be eaten with a good quality butter to be enjoyed, however if jam is your jam and you have a sweet tooth then by all means eat them with jam and cream. They are at their best straight out of the oven, and are crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside and full of dates. As I took these out of the oven, I had visions of them being baked on an Australian sheep property for the shearer's smoko, or on a cattle property out west, and then seeing them devoured in one sitting by everyone. I cooked these in time for brunch this morning, I ate one, MR. HRK ate ??, well let's just say he ate more than me. Delicious with a cuppa.
Those of us living in the Anglo-Saxon world love to cook with semi-dried dates, and I tend to cook mainly date slices, date loaves, sticky date puddings, and scones, as I just don't have access to the wonderful selection of fresh dates available in the Middle Eastern World although they can be found at some fruit and vegetable shops and IGAs. It is so easy to grab a packet of dates from the supermarket shelves as we whizz past with our trolleys, the best quality dates available at our supermarkets being the Medjool dates. However to be economical which is important at times when making puddings or scones for a family, most semi-dried dates with stones removed will do. Date palms are still treated reverently in the Middle East, as dates have been an essential food for thousands of years for the Arab people. Dates have a high sugar content, and are often used in recipes to replace sugar, however in this recipe I use both, with a minimal amount of sugar. Certainly for those people now in lockdown who enjoy cooking, semi-dried dates are wonderful to have on hand for a variety of dishes, and will last for months stored in an air-tight container. Unfortunately they are not that great to snack on.
This recipe is my contribution to International Scone Week, hosted by Tandy of Lavender and Lime. #ISW2021 was started in 2011 by the lovely Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and is now maintained by Tandy.
This recipe is based on one from Katherine de Pury at Yeringberg vineyard at Coldstream in Victoria's Yarra Valley.
(Makes 10 scones)
250 g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
20 g chilled butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
250 g dates, stones and chopped
3 tablespoons buttermilk (Add a little more if you need to.)
3 tablespoons water
|Freshly grated nutmeg, so very aromatic
Preheat your oven to 210 deg. C. and grease a baking tray. Dust with flour.
Sift the SR flour, grated nutmeg and salt together, then rub in the butter.
Add the sugar and the dates.
Combine the buttermilk and the water and add into the flour with a knife which will create a a soft but firm dough.
Knead this mixture together quickly, then press out onto a floured bench and cut into squares. Mine will be cut into squares next time, instead of rectangles, however they still taste the same regardless.
Bake for 7 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 deg. C and leave them to cook a further 8 minutes until golden.
Happy International Scone Week.
Check out my other Aussie Damper scones which are also delicious, and without the fruit.