Pistachio scones for a Mothering Sunday tea time treat

My mother’s favourite tea time treat is a plate of warm scones served with jam and cream. So when I started pondering on what recipe to post for Mothering Sunday, I really didn’t have to think for too long.

Unfortunately since my mum lives in Spain I won’t be able to bake these for her tomorrow, but I send these pictures to her with love and the promise I’ll make them for her the next time she’s over.

Until recently I’d only ever baked plain scones. I felt the whole scone experience was more about the indulgent toppings rather than the scone itself, which seemed to me essentially a carrier.

But as an avid fan of the Lavender & Lovage and What Kate Baked food blogs, I’ve realised this month just how versatile scones can be. The theme for their March Tea Time Treats challenge is scones and I’ve already heard on the Twittersphere of some delicious-sounding entries, from white chocolate to feta, tomato and caramelised onion.

So I’ve put my thinking cap on and this is what I’ve come up with: dainty little pistachio scones seasoned with lots of black pepper for a slightly spicy, slightly Asian taste, which feel like they could easily have been part of a tea time spread enjoyed by the old colonials back in the days of the Raj. The pepper works particularly well with strawberry jam.

I like to make little diddy scones, the kind you can consume in a couple of bites. Or if you’re my husband, in a single mouthful. I used a 4cm circular pastry cutter for the scones pictured here.

And the secret to the perfect scone, according to Delia whose recipe this is based on, is to make sure you don’t roll out your scone dough too thinly. It must be at least 2cm thick.

Pistachio scones

Makes about 12

225g self-raising flour
40g soft butter
80g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
A pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper
150ml milk

Preheat oven to 220°C Gas 7.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Stir in the pistachio nuts, salt and a good few grounds of black pepper. Remember these scones are meant to have a good peppery kick so don’t hold back.

Use a knife to gradually mix in the milk. Then use your hands to pull the mixture together into a soft dough, adding a little more milk if it seems too dry.

Place the dough onto a floured board and roll it out until it is no less than 2cm thick. Cut out your scones using your pastry cutter and place on a greased baking sheet.

Dust the top of each one with a little flour and bake for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and eat while they are still slightly warm. Serve with jam and whipped or clotted cream. Heavenly.

So what’s your favourite scone recipe? I’d love to hear it. And why not enter it into the March Tea Time Treats challenge as well? You’ve got until 28 March to take part.