Scones. Rhubarb. Custard. How much more British can one get?
As far as rhubarb and custard are concerned, these are a classically British combination. They're the heart of a very retro British pudding, and probably more famously as a boiled sweet! If you fancy a nostalgia trip, you can find rhubarb and custard sweets online at A Quarter Of. You can buy rhubarb frozen, tinned or you could find it fresh. Surprisingly you can find wild rhubarb pretty much anywhere in the UK, not just in the countryside as you'd expect. I grew up on the outskirts of the city and even there we could pick wild rhubarb as kids, whether from random bushes or just nicking it from neighbours' gardens!
Anyways, as for the scones: they are a no-brainer to bake - they're perfect if you're a bit of an anxious baker. In fact, scones were one of the first things I was taught to bake in school! You don't have to worry about yeast action or rising agents, and there's certainly no racing against the clock to get everything in the oven. You can just relax, get your countertops dirty, and enjoy the process (and the delicious results!)
You can make scones as extravagant as you like. You can eat them plain, you can add a myriad of dried and candied fruits - raisins, sultanas, cherries, apricots, blueberries - or, for the more decadent, chocolate, nuts and extravagant spices.
This rhubarb & custard variation is just my hyper-British hybrid which is sure to impress your granny if she's impartial to a good scone. If you prefer to choose a more elaborate flavouring of your own, or something more scaled-back and simple, just forget about the rhubarb and custard altogether, as though they never existed at all. This recipe will work fine without those guys.
The ingredients required aren't too taxing on your supplies. It's such a pain in the arse when I bake something and it has completely robbed me of my butter and eggs. This recipe should only use a chunk of your supplies, so you won't be left to eat dry toast for breakfast tomorrow!
+ What You Will Need +
(for 8 very British scones)
225g Self-Raising Flour*
2/3 cup of Rhubarb chunks (tinned, fresh or frozen)
+ 3 tablespoons white sugar
+ 2 tablespoons of milk
+1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
+ A tub/carton/tin of custard (fresh is best)
*If you only have plain flour in the cupboard, simply add 3 teaspoons of baking powder to your 225g measure of plain flour.
1. Preheat your oven to 220°C/425F. Now that's out of the way...
Measure out your flour.
You know how much I hate measuring...
Sift your flour into a large bowl. Sift it from way up high to create a nice airy, powder.
3. Butter time.
Add in your butter as little chunks. It's best if it is fridge-cold, as it won't melt and make your dough goopy.
4. Start rubbing the butter in with the flour/sugar. Rub everything in between your fingers tips and try and make sure there are no chunks of butter left lying around.
Try not to let your palms touch the mixture also. Your palms are pretty warm and you want to try and keep everything as cold as possible so the butter doesn't melt.
After a good finger shufflin', you should be left with coarse, buttercup-yellow crumbs.
5. Add your rhubarb chunks to the crumbs.
6. Briefly whisk your egg with your vanilla extract and your 2 tablespoons of milk.
Pour this mixture into your crumbs and it will all start coming together (well, literally!)
7. Roughly mix everything together with a knife, the handle of a wooden spoon, or anything else that's thin and rod-like.
Bring everything together until you have a soft dough. Add a little more milk if needed. It shouldn't be a sticky dough - if it is, simply add some sprinkles of flour until you've nailed it.
8. Once you have a nice, manageable dough, it's time to roll! I still don't have a rolling pin, so I just used an old water bottle!
Sprinkle your countertop with some flour and plonk your dough in the middle of it all.
Roll it out fairly gently until you have a dough that is about 2-3cm thick all around. Don't bother with rulers, just make sure it's between one and two fingers thick.
It is very thick, but it will give your scones plenty of momentum to shoot up in the oven. Because it's so thick, you probably won't need to roll your dough out very far. Don't worry, you will get more out of it than you'd think!
9. Take a cookie cutter and cut out as many circles as you can. If you have scraps left, simply bundle them up and roll them out again to get some more scones out of it. If you don't have a cookie cutter, you could use a small glass or even the cap from a jar of coffee!
10. Place your doughy coins onto a greased tray, about 1-2cm apart, and pop them in the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and puffed up.
11. Once they're nicely browned on top, remove your scones from the oven and set them on a rack to aerate and cool off.
Start preparing some tea to accompany your baked creations.
12. Once your scones are warm enough to handle, they're good to go!
Cut them in half. Spoon a thick dollop of fresh custard into each half, and tuck in.
You can eat them by hand, or on a plate with a spoon if you're nervous about the crumbs!
I hope you knock your granny's socks off!
Thanks for reading!