Scones are a British afternoon tea staple and they’re delicious served with jam and clotted cream. They are not quite cake, but not really a biscuit or pastry either. They are traditionally made with flour, butter, sugar and milk. Where did the recipe originate from? Scones are thought to have originated in Scotland in the early 1500s and the first known print reference was made by a Scottish poet in 1513. Scones were originally made using oats, shaped into a large round and scored into four or six wedges. They were then griddle baked over an open fire, although today’s versions are made with flour and baked in the oven.
The word is thought to have originated from the Dutch “schoonbrot,” meaning fine white bread; and the closely-related German “sconbrot,” which means fine or beautiful bread.
Around 1840, scones became an essential part of the fashionable ritual of afternoon tea in England. This was popularised by Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, who was a close friend of Queen Victoria. One afternoon she requested some ‘light food’, which included tea, biscuits and scones. It’s said that she enjoyed it so much that she ordered it every afternoon and the English ritual of ‘Afternoon Tea’ was born.
There’s a big debate surrounding the ‘correct’ way to eat a scone. Cream tea is very popular in both Devon and Cornwall but the main difference is how the jam is added. In Cornwall, jam is added first to allow it to sink into the warm scone and then clotted cream is added on top.
In Devon, it’s the other way round, clotted cream is spread first to create a barrier between the runny jam and the scone.
What’s your favourite way to eat a scone?