This post originally featured in the Wells Journal on Thursday 28 November 2013.
I used to be something of a purist when it came to scones. The whole scone experience was more about the indulgence of the clotted cream and jam, rather than the scone itself. If I was being slightly adventurous, I might throw a few sultanas into the scone mixture.
But since a) having children and b) becoming a food blogger, a new scone-shaped world has opened up to me, particularly the seemingly endless possibilities of the savoury scone.
Savoury scones are a perfect standby snack for little ones (and adults) and I often make them for the children’s lunchboxes too. Courgette and cheese scones are favourites, as are butternut squash and red onion.
Think of Somerset foods and Cheddar cheese and apples will no doubt come to mind. I know, I know – the produce of Somerset is so much more varied than this ubiquitous pairing, but you have to admit our apples and cheese are world-class. If you were at the Wells Food Festival back in September, you’ll have seen the crowds around the cheese stall; all due to the fine reputation of our local cheeses.
And what better to enjoy alongside your cheese than a crisp, flavourful apple. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful variety available to us here, although we should remember that more than 50 per cent of Somerset’s orchards have disappeared over the last 50 years. This is something a number of local growers and projects are working hard to turn around.
So, for a taste of Somerset in a scone, how about a tasty cheese and apple scone, using a mature local Cheddar and a generous sprinkling of fresh sage? They’re perfect cold in your packed lunch but even better served warm from the oven, with a little salted butter and some extra slices of cheese or maybe some cold meats.
Cheddar cheese, apple and sage scones
Makes around 12
300g self-raising Flour
½ tsp baking powder
125g mature Cheddar, grated
handful of fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 large eating apple, cored and grated
1 medium free range egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 200ºC / gas mark 6.
Grease a large baking sheet and cover with baking parchment.
Pour the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and mix together. Chop the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour using your finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir two-thirds of the cheese into the mixture, along with the sage and apple.
Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the beaten egg and milk. Use a knife to bring together into a soft dough. If it is too wet, add a little more flour.
Lightly flour the work top. Roll out the dough to a 2cm thickness and use a pastry cutter to cut out your scones. Keep re-rolling the dough until it is all used up.
Place the scones on the baking sheet spaced well apart. Sprinkle the scones with the remaining grated cheese and bake for around 15 minutes until golden.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little before eating.
These scones are an ideal lunchbox filler and so I am entering them into this month’s Family Foodies challenge, which I just happen to be co-hosting with Lou over at Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is Lunchbox Ideas.