Today I made a surprisingly tasty cream tea. I say surprisingly as my track record so far with baking has been less than stellar. This is probably due to me mauling the recipes with substitutions. Probably. But today I found two recipes written as gluten, dairy, and sugar free so there was no need for me to tinker. Except for adding mixed fruit. And not drinking any tea. Welcome to
The Great British National Cream Tea Day.
I started with the scones. Nothing much to report except when I was forming the dough, the mixture felt weird, pillowy weird, and then I added too much liquid so had to add more flour. When it came to cutting out the scones, my cutter proved too shallow so I used a Wonder Woman glass. Given the sensation of pillow, the actual scones felt far heavier, like a trick was being played on me. And then, the top of the scones sort of melted when I put the wash on them. All very peculiar.
While they were in the oven, I started to make the “clotted cream”. This involved mixing soya cream and vegetable fat using microwaves, whisks and ice baths, then adding xanthan gum to thicken it. The recipe called for just a pinch or two of xanthan gum, but after ten I started loading up ½ teaspoons instead. I made the mistake of washing my hands half way through only to find that water activated the gum into invisible, soap defying ectoplasm, which bodes well for my intestines. Finally the cream started coming together, more of an Angel Delight/mayonnaise consistency than cream but with enough structural integrity to hold on a scone.
Despite my misgivings, the scones came out lovely. The next challenge was deciding how to eat them. The traditional Cornish Way of jam first, or do I plump for the Devonshire Way of slapping the cream down first?
Both, of course. For balance and for folklore science. Nothing to do with it being tea time. Visually, it was strange not seeing the bright red of a strawberry jam, but even if I do say so myself, Orwell’s marrow jam was knockout. And the scones, while not worthy of a Hollywood handshake, properly did the job. The cream though. The cream was like creamy margarine. Which of course it was, I’d just hoped it would taste more, well, creamy. And less slimy. So all in all, everything was rather lovely. But if I was forced to to pick a side, it would have to be Cornish. Something to do with the delivery sensation. Not that I would protest if served the other way, I’m really just here for the carbs. Anyhow they were both polished off lickety-split. With just a touch of indigestion. And slimy, creamy aftertaste.
So only one thing is left to sort out, how do you pronounce scone?