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How-To

Classic English Scones—Crisp Outside, Flaky Inside

Use big chunks of cold butter, barely mixed in, for the ideal texture

Fine Cooking Issue 11
Photos: Martha Holmberg. Illustration: Gary Hovland
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Jacquie Lee’s heritage is both Chinese and English, so teatime was very important in her parents’ home. She first experienced really elaborate tea-drinking rituals when visiting England, where her passion for the scone was born. Over time she developed her idea of the perfect scone, and now this baker wants to share her technique with you. The ideal scone should be crisp outside and flaky inside; it should not be cake-like in texture. Scones are made from a few simple, basic ingredients, but it’s the way those ingredients are worked together that separates the ordinary from the exceptional scone. Lee tells you exactly what to do to produce a perfect dough, and even tells you what kind of flour, butter, and sugar she prefers. She gives several suggestions for accent flavors, beginning with the traditional currants and ending with a racy combination of orange zest and chocolate. She tells you how to freeze leftover scones, though you probably will not have that problem. Helpful photographs show you what your dough should look like at each stage of its preparation. In a delightful sidebar, Brinna Sands explores the different pronunciations of the word scone. Featured recipe: Orange-Scented English Scones.

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