Up on the chilly coastline of Newbiggin by the sea here in the North East, a cafe owner has decided to claim a unique record of having the most varieties of homebaked scones for sale. Jackie Nevin and her husband Colin have invented everything from a mince and onion variety to a black cherry and white chocolate. And why not? Call it bizarre, but it is these little quirky finds in the world of food that makes it such an interesting subject.
I love a scone; it is about as English as a foodstuff can be and a visit to Cornwall is not complete without a feast on one of their famous scones with strawberries and clotted cream and a nice cup of tea. Being a bit of a traditionalist, I'm torn between a plain old fruit scone or a warm cheese scone, fresh from the oven with a slab of salted butter dripping from it. Last year I remember catering for a large birthday party and as they wanted an English tea party, I created my own little record of baking what seemed like a thousand scones in my own tiny kitchen. I believe some of them are still residing in their freezer.
This week it was my turn to go all bizarre with the scone. I've made a potato scone several times and that works a treat. With a handful of that wind inducing vegetable the Jerusalem artichoke, I thought a smooth puree folded into a strong cheese scone mixture would work just perfectly. And it did; strong Cheddar and the nutty artichoke are such a lovely combination. I might send this recipe to that scone shop in Newbiggin to see if I can help towards getting them into that famous book.
Jerusalem Artichoke and Cheese Scones
100g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and sliced
300g plain flour
200g wholemeal flour
4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g salted butter
50g Cheddar cheese, grated
1 – Put the Jerusalem artichoke into a pan with the milk. Bring to the boil then simmer until the Jerusalem artichoke is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Put the artichoke and milk into a blender and blend to a loose puree. Keep aside.
2 – Preheat the oven to 200C, GM6. Grease and flour a baking tray.
3 – Sift the flour into a food processor along with the bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Add the butter and blend until combined.
4 – Add the cheese and Jerusalem artichoke puree and blend. Begin to pour the milk gradually through the blender funnel until the dough comes together into a soft dough.
5 – Tip out onto a floured surface and roll to approximately 4 cm depth. Using a scone cutter, cut out the dough and place the scones snugly onto the baking tray. Beat the egg and brush the tops of the scones. Cook on the middle shelf for 10-15 minutes until risen and golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack and eat warm with lots of butter. The scones are also a great accompaniment to a rich beef stew.