It’s East meets West in so many ways. Scones are very English. Scones often accompany the traditional afternoon tea, a beverage brought to England from China. The scones I baked early this morning, based on a recipe for cranberry orange scones, were made with preserved seedless plums, a traditional Chinese food famous in Hong Kong. Scones with preserved plums. If they sell something like this in Hong Kong, I’m sure it would be a hit. :)
But what exactly do I mean by preserved seedless plums?
They’re plums preserved with orange peel, licorice, sugar and salt. It was the orange peel in the preserved plums that made me think they would go so well with the cranberry orange scones which includes grated orange zest among the ingredients.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup butter chilled
- 10 pieces preserved seedless plums cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup evaporated filled milk buttermilk works too — the sour-y taste is just great with scones
- 2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the cubed preserved seedless plums in a small bowl and add a tablespoonful of flour. Toss to coat each piece with flour.
Whisk (with a wire whisk or a fork) the remaining flour, baking powder, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Cut the chilled butter into small cubes. Add to the flour mixture and work the butter into the flour (I use my hands to do this to make sure I get the proper texture) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, and making sure that no large pieces of butter are left.
Add the plums and orange zest to the flour mixture and mix lightly.
Lightly beat an egg and one egg yolk (reserve the white of the second egg). Add to the flour mixture. Pour in the milk. Mix just until blended. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Turn the dough into a flat surface (the kitchen counter works fine with me) and knead lightly just until the dough comes together. DO NOT OVERKNEAD. I did 12 turns then stopped.
Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with baking (wax, non-stick) paper. Pat to form a circle about an inch thick. With a sharp knife, score the dough into eight to 12 slices but without cutting all the way through.
Brush the top with the egg white then sprinkle with 1 tablespoonful of sugar.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.
Scones are best eaten while still warm. I hope they stay warm inside the kids’ insulated lunch bags because these scones are what they’re having for school recess today.