Ever since we had to do a corporate identity for a tearoom at college last year, I have been a little obsessed with the thought of high tea. Fine china, elegant teacups and dainty little cakes and scones with jam and cream. However, the usage of the term as we know it today is historically incorrect. High tea was the name of the early evening meal, often with savoury food, eaten as a combination afternoon/evening meal. Afternoon tea is the proper name.
Afternoon tea was a big deal to the ladies of 19th century Britain. The tearoom used to be a place that wealthy women were allowed to socialise with each other, unaccompanied by their husbands. Tearooms became more common when tea became more affordable to the lower classes. It is kind of a forgotten ritual these days, but I often find that at I’m feeling a little flat and I just need a cup of tea at about 3.30pm.
These scones were made to take to my nanna’s place this afternoon. I went over for a music lesson, followed by afternoon tea. How quaint! She was very impressed by their light and fluffy texture, and the way they split perfectly in half just waiting for a slathering of jam and a dollop of cream. Her preference was for apricot and mine for plum, and both were delicious. I felt like a real lady, sipping tea and nibbling scones, talking about perfect cadences and Handel’s operas.
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Modern Classics 2
Makes about 24 small scones
• 2 cups thickened cream
• ½ cup milk
• 3 cups plain flour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 2-3 tablespoons caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2. Whisk the cream and milk together until soft peaks form
3. Sift flour and baking powder, add sugar and stir to combine
4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and press out the dough until about 3cm thick. Cut into small rounds (4-5cm) and place on baking tray, with 2cm between each
5. Brush the tops of each scone with a little milk.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until scones are puffed and golden.
7. Serve warm with jam and cream