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Devonshire Tea for Mother's Day

Posted May 10 2009 10:00pm

Happy Mother's Day!

It may be 90 degrees plus 100% humidity today in Texas, but that's not keeping me from having the one thing I want to have at 4 pm on a day that is all about me: Devonshire Tea.

Forget the brunch, or formal luncheon. After a few days on the road in Philadelphia (jointly spent across the river in glorious Camden, NJ; alas, not pleasure, but work at the Campbell's Kitchen HQ), I've wanted nothing but favorites on my plate this weekend, which meant yogurt and fruit for breakfast, Greek salad for lunch, and now my tea: a pot of Darjeeling, warm scones, a bit of cream, and jam.

Kevin's turning or sanding some piece of wood in his shop as I type, sip, and nibble, and Nick is napping, so I have time to tell you about the scones.

This is my favorite scone recipe. I am pretty sure it originated in a newspaper food column I clipped from the San Francisco Chronicle ages ago, but I cannot locate it (I didn't look very hard). It doesn't matter, though, because with a mere four ingredients, it is easy to memorize.

Actually, the original had only three ingredients. It was meant to be a biscuit, but the texture, but I felt from the start that the tender texture was more suitable to a scone, so I added a bit of sugar, and ta-da: a foolproof scone recipe.

Unable to leave well enough alone, I decided to try the recipe with a bit of whole wheat. I have never seen whole wheat self-rising flour before, so I decided to make my own. The essential recipe for a self-rising flour is 1 cup flour to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. So for a whole wheat variation, I use 1/2 all-purpose flour and 1/2 white whole wheat flour. The scones baked up as tender and delectable as ever, with a new hint of nuttiness from the white whole wheat flour.

And because today is a splurge day, I whipped up some Devonshire cream. Grant it, it's is not the real thing, but it tastes very close. True Devonshire cream comes from Devonshire County, England, and is a thick, buttery cream. It is also known as Devon cream and clotted cream. But all you really need to know is that, along with jam, it is the very best thing to eat with warm scones. My mock version is merely a light cream cheese-enriched whipped cream, whipped with a hint of sugar and a pinch of salt. I could have made a half-recipe this afternoon, but it keeps well for several days, so it will make it's way onto the raspberries and strawberries that have been on sale.

To tea (and, more importantly, the accompanying scones)!

Camilla's 4-Ingredient Basic Scones

3 cups white whole wheat self-rising flour (see recipe below)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter, cubed
1 and 1/4 cups 1% lowfat milk

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly dust a cookie sheet with plain flour. Whisk self-rising flour and sugar in a large bowl.

Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre. Add 1 cup of milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a soft dough, adding more milk if required. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth (don't knead dough too much or scones will be tough).

Pat dough into a 1/2 inch-thick round. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out 12 rounds. Gently press dough together and cut out remaining 4 rounds. Place scones onto prepared baking tray, 1/2-inch apart. Sprinkle tops with a little plain flour. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm with jam and cream. Makes 12 scones.

White Whole Wheat Self-Rising Flour Recipe

You can use this in any recipe calling for self-rising flour.

1 and 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (e.g., King Arthur brand)
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

Combine all ingredients; store in tightly covered can or jar. Use in any recipe calling for self-rising flour. Makes 3 cups.

Mock Devonshire Cream

3 ounces 1/3-less fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat mixture until stiff peaks form. Store in refrigerator in a covered container. Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups.
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