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These fluffy perfect buttermilk scones are everything a scone should be; buttery and light with a tender crumb and ideal with whipped or clotted cream and strawberry jam.
I found the perfect buttermilk scones South Africa recipe in my Ultimate Snowflake Collection recipe book, written by Heilie Pienaar.
My aunts and cousins were coming for morning tea and I had to make these buttermilk scones quickly, praying they would turn out right. I doubled the ingredients mentioned below, and they were hot and ready to serve within 45 minutes of starting.
These buttermilk scones made with cake flour, butter and fresh cream are perfect for morning tea with fresh whipped or clotted cream and jam for breakfast with sharp cheddar cheese. I could hear my mother’s voice saying ‘you know they are good when you see the split’.
As a teenager I was useless at making fluffy buttermilk scones and they were never quite as light or delicate in texture as my mother or her friend, Aunty Merle’s. Or as buttery as Mummy Rachel and Aunt Josie’s self rising flour scones.
My mother said my hands were too warm, but I suspect I was just too heavy handed. I remember watching her make scones, always a quick fix when unexpected guests showed up, and we had nothing special to serve them with tea. She had the lightest touch with delicate handling of the dough and her advice with making scones was always ‘be gentle with the dough and use your hands to flatten it’.
I tried making Aunty Merle’s scones many years ago, using the recipe she gave me, but it never tasted quite like hers. Similarly with Mummy Rachel’s recipe, mine turned out strangely misshapen and too crumbly.
Since moving to Dubai, scones have been far and few between on an afternoon tea menu, and on the odd occasion that I have tried one in the past few years they have been no more than miserable lumps of lead. The exceptions being the scones with lemon curd at Aspen Café, at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, and once at the Myatt Café in the Waterfront, Cape Town.
How to make perfect fluffy buttermilk scones
- Heat the oven before starting with the scone dough as it needs to be sufficiently hot to give a good rise.
- Make sure your butter is cold so that it doesn’t melt into the flour and helps the scones rise when the steam is created during baking.
- Use buttermilk, fresh cream or even frozen whipped cream. Buttermilk gives a tangier scone and reacts with the baking powder to help with the rise.
- Work quickly while the butter is cold and try not to use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a disk. Use your hands and press down lightly.
- Use a smooth edged cooking cutter to cut the rounds and dust it in flour before pressing out every scone.
- Do not twist the cookie cutter when removing it from the dough as it will prevent the scones rising as much as they can.
- Bake smaller scones for 12 minutes and bigger ones for 15 minutes.
Other recipes you may like
- 30 day Raisin Bran muffins
- Moist blueberry muffins
- Almond and Coconut breakfast pancakes
- South African Flapjacks pancakes
- Scrumptious Banana bread with self rising flour
This recipe was first published on 23 May 2015 and has since been updated.
Perfect buttermilk scones
- 280 grams cake flour, sifted approximately 500 ml or 2 cups
- 15 ml baking powder approximately 1 tablespoon
- 2.5 ml salt approximately 1/2 teaspoon
- 125 grams cold butter cut into 1 cm squares
- 30 ml castor sugar approximately 2 tablespoons
- 1 extra large egg
- 100 ml buttermilk approximately 2/5 cup
- 15 ml cream approximately 1 tablespoon
- 1 egg beaten for glazing
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius or 180 degrees with a fan assisted oven / 400 F / Gas mark 6.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the salt.
- Use your fingertips or a pastry knife to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the sugar.
- Whisk the egg, buttermilk and cream together until combined.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the half the egg and buttermilk mixture.
- Cut the flour into the liquid with the pastry cutter or your hands, without over mixing and add the rest of the liquid to form a soft dough.
- Bring together any flour left around the edges of the bowl and the dough out onto the lightly floured surface.
- Press the dough together lightly until it has a level surface and is about 2 cm thick.
- Use a smooth edged cookie cutter to cut out rounds. I used a 5cm one but you can use a larger 7cm one for bigger scones.
- Place on a baking sheet and brush with egg, making sure to keep it on the top as it will prevent even rising if it is brushed on the sides.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until done.
- Serve with whipped or clotted cream and jam, or cheese.
Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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