International Scone Week 2023 is a celebration of scone making, and a shout out to all those cooks who have enjoyed baking a great scone over the years. The perfect scone is a joyeus thing. Let's have a sconversation about scone making, over a cup of tea and a delicious scone with lemon curd, or jam and thickened cream if that's what you prefer. The perfect scone should have puffy height, a soft, tender crumb, and shouldn't flake like a biscuit. This Sultana and Apple scone ticked all of those boxes.
Head straight to the recipe here:
The scone I have chosen to bake this year is a Sultana and Apple scone with Lemon Curd. In this recipe, the sweetness and texture come from the sultanas and apple, there's no added sugar which is a good thing. Perhaps the lemonade adds a just a little sweetness but it certainly makes them light and fluffy. A scone shouldn't be too sweet, that way you can generously spread it with your favourite toppings without feeling too guilty about all the sugar you've consumed. The sultanas are soaked overnight in a strong brew of Earl Grey Tea, so they are plump and delicately flavoured. However, if you don't have time for an overnight soaking, this step can be omitted, or even reduced to just a couple of hours. The slightly sour Lemon Curd as a topping gives the whole eating experience some balance and richness. Lemon Curd replaces the traditional scone toppings; however, you can still eat them with jam and cream if you prefer. Personally, I love eating scones topped with Lemon Curd, which is perfect if you are also including these scones as part of a Devonshire tea or a High Tea, where some other sweet cakes and biscuits may be included. It prevents sugar overload. I always have lots of Lemon Curd on hand, as it freezes beautifully, and it is so easy to make using the microwave method. Here's the link to my post for Microwave Lemon Curd.
A little bit about International Scone Week, #ISW2023
Tandy Sinclair from Lavender and Lime hosts International Scone Week now, and you can find her latest blog explaining all of its history etc. at this link. So, there's no need for me to do that here. Bloggers from all around the world are invited to take part, to showcase their favourite scone recipe and share it with friends and the international blogging community. In Australia, there is a rich history of scone making, from the resilient pioneering women of yesteryear to current times, when those of us who like to bake know it's quite simple to bring together a batch of scones at a moment's notice. The CWA (or Australian Country Women's Association) have set a very high standard with scone making over the years and are often to be seen at the Sydney Royal Easter Show demonstrating how easy it is to make a good scone and then selling the results to fundraise I expect. However, the demonstrations I have seen often involve mixing the cold butter with the flour by hand to create a crumb. This can take quite a while so now, I much prefer using cream instead of butter, which still gives a great result. When I was in France, oh yes, here she goes again, I made quite a few batches of my Aussie Damper Scones, the children and the adults loved them, however I always used Creme Fraiche in those as it's cheaper than cream in France, which I always had trouble finding anyway.
My Aussie Damper Scone recipe has been one of the most popular on my blog and I also love to knock up a batch of Pumpkin Scones when I have enough Kent or (Jap) pumpkin to spare. Who doesn't love a delicious pumpkin scone slathered with butter? This recipe was my entry for the 2022 Scone Week. My Rustic Date Scone recipe from 2 years ago also went down very well. This year, I am really happy with this simple and delicious to make Sultana and Apple Scone recipe. I hope you enjoy it too.
This is a photo from International Scone Week last year, when I made Pumpkin Scones for afternoon tea for the Mahjongers.
Let's bake a batch of Apple and Sultana scones:
100g sultanas (soaked in Earl Grey tea overnight,) drained.
1 sweet apple, grated.
300 g (2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting.
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (in addition to quantity used if making your own Self raising flour (see Cook's notes below)
125 ml (1/2 cup) double cream or thickened cream
125 ml (1/2 cup) lemonade
Milk for brushing
1 quantity of Lemon curd (see link to my Microwave Lemon curd recipe below, or purchase it)
Preheat the oven to 220 deg. C.
Dust a baking tray with flour.
Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl to form a soft dough. I like to add the sifted flour and baking powder first, then mix through the apple and sultanas to coat them in flour, then add the rest of the wet ingredients. I think this makes for a better result with scones.
The dough in your bowl will need little work with it. I didn't knead it at all. Scones generally only require light kneading at the very most, or they won't rise, and you lose that light, fluffy texture.
Flour your hands. Tip the scone dough onto your floured bench or pastry sheet. Just pat it out lightly with floured hands until it is 3 cm thick.
Using a 5cm round scone cutter, mine is slightly larger, no need to stress over this, cut out 10 scones and place on a baking tray that has been lightly dusted with flour. Place them close together on the baking tray to assist the rising process.
Brush each scone with a little milk and dust with flour.
Bake for 12 minutes until they are well risen and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Serve the scones warm, spread with luscious lemon curd.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favourite recipe books, The Lord Howe Island Cookbook. Mr. HRK and I were at Pine Trees Lodge on the Island for Food and Wine Week, as a 40th wedding anniversary celebration. It was fabulous. We enjoyed delicious food and lovely wines for a whole week. I even rode a bicycle around the hilly island without falling off, that's the main means of travel, besides walking. This recipe book was a free gift as part of the package.
- It can be more economical to make your own self-raising flour, by adding 2 teaspoons of fresh Baking Powder to 1 cup of flour (Check the Used by Date to ensure the Baking Powder is fresh.) Plain flour can be very economical to buy. However, if buying Self-raising flour, please always buy the best quality brand, as it will make a difference to the result.
- Golden Lemon Curd is so easy to make yourself in the Microwave if you have the lemons. Here's a link to my recipe. I promise you; you will never look back after making it yourself. And it freezes beautifully, bottled.
- My scones browned a little unevenly in my oven this time, so at 10 minutes I turned the tray around. Definitely check your scones at 10 minutes to ensure they aren't browning too much. Every oven is different. Mine needed the full 12 minutes.
- A secret to the best risen scone is to not turn the cutter while cutting out your scones. It's a wonderful feeling when the scone just drops onto the cooking tray out of the cutter, beautifully. Brings a smile to my face every time.
- This is basically a 3-ingredient scone, flour, lemonade, and cream. The sultanas and apple can be substituted with other ingredients such as raspberries, white choc bits, soaked chopped dates, or whatever you have on hand.
- Always have thickened cream in your refrigerator so that you can whip up a batch of scones at a moment's notice.