Classic cream scones, with heavy cream (also called double cream or whipping cream) replacing the butter and milk, are incredibly light and airy. Since you don't have to spend time working the butter into the flour, these scones come together quickly.
Scones have infinite variations, which works well for me because when I want a scone, I want it now! If I have buttermilk and an egg on hand, I like to make these Scones. If I have gluten-free friends in for tea, I make these Gluten-Free Scones.
The ideal time to make these classic cream scones is after I'm made my Homemade Clotted Cream, which leaves you with a cup of cream that can't be whipped but is perfect in any recipe calling for cream.
Whenever I go out for afternoon tea, there are always two scones, one plain and one with dried fruit. I'm listing the fruit in the recipe, but today I made them without. Last time I made them with dried blueberries and a bit of Meyer lemon zest, other times with dried cranberries and orange zest.
Update 12/07/16: For how to throw an afternoon tea party and a roundup of afternoon tea recipes, see Afternoon Tea Party Tips.
Classic Cream Scones - No Butter, No Milk, No Egg
(Makes 12 scones)
1 2/3 dip-and-sweep cups (8.33 ounces/236 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 to 4 tablespoons (1.25 to 1.625 ounces/33 to 46 grams) sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange or Meyer lemon
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) currants or other chopped dried fruit
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/236 ml) heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional: Zest of one orange or Meyer lemon mixed with 1 tablespoon coarse sugar to sprinkle on top
1 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. In medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in orange zest and dried fruit to coat and separate.
2 Make a well in the center of the flour; pour in the cream and vanilla. Combine with just a few stirs with a fork. With one hand, press dough against sides of bowl, gathering up the loose flour and bringing the dough together. Cut dough into two equal pieces.
3 Line a large baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle two 5-inch circles lightly with flour. Place the two pieces of dough onto the two floured circles on the parchment and gently pat the dough, dusting with flour as needed, into two 5-inch rounds.
4 Cut each round into 6 wedges, dipping your knife or bench scraper in flour between cuts. Pull the wedges out and space them an inch or two apart. Brush the tops with a little milk, cream or melted butter; sprinkle with zest/sugar mixture, if you like. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until golden brown.
Note: To reheat room temperature scones, wrap loosely in foil and heat at 300F/150C/Gas2 for 10 minutes.