Sunday, February 9, 2014

Scone of the Month: Cheese Scones with Chilli Jam

Over the coming months I am hoping to show just how versatile home made scones can be and that once you have settled on a reliable base recipe you can add many different flavourings without having to redesign your whole recipe each time.

As we are so close to Valentine's day I am going to start the series with a suitably tweaked savoury scone: 

Heart Shaped Mini Cheese Scones with Cream Cheese and Chilli Jam

I think these would make a perfect pre-dinner nibble or a lovely savoury item on an afternoon tea menu. The heart shaped cutter is totally optional, any mini round or square shaped  scones would be just as delicious.

I have used a Paul Hollywood recipe for some time now to make cheese scones and this comes from his earlier book, 100 Great Breads, published in 2004. I varied the ingredients slightly for these scones by substituting some of the flour with fine cornmeal.

450g strong white flour (or 500g if not using the fine cornmeal)
50g fine cornmeal/polenta flour
15g white sugar
20g baking powder
75g butter
2 eggs beaten (plus an additional egg for glazing)**
240ml milk
100g grated cheddar cheese
pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 200C, Gas mark 7 and line a heavy baking tray with greaseproof/parchment paper.
  • Place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and pinch of salt into a bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the flour to give a fine crumb texture.
  • Stir in the grated cheese.
  • Add the beaten egg and the milk and bring the dough together stirring initially with a fork/spoon and finally with your hands.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead very lightly to form a smooth ball of dough. The dough should have a soft but not sticky texture.
  • Gently press or roll the dough out to a thickness of approximately 2.5cm/1" for mini scones and  3.5cm/1.5" for larger scones.
  • Using a pastry cutter stamp out the scones placing them onto the lined baking tray.
  • Any off-cuts of dough can be gently reformed into a ball and rolled out again.
  • **Now if you would like shiny golden scones you would brush each one with a beaten egg but this always seems very wasteful of an egg. My usual trick is to keep the bowl I used to beat the eggs in handy, there is nearly always a little egg left stuck to the sides. Add a couple of tablespoons of milk and stir the bowl well to incorporate any egg that was left and use this as the egg wash. They will not be as shiny as with a pure egg wash but they will be fine.
  • Allow the scones to rest for about 10 minutes before baking in a hot (200c) oven.
  • Small scones will take about 10 minutes and larger ones about 15 minutes.  Much depends on your oven and how large or small you have made the scones. You may need to turn the tray around half way through baking to even out the heat distribution.

These cheese scones are delicious just served with butter but this time I want to serve them with a layer of low fat cream cheese topped off with chilli jam.

 You can either buy your favourite make of chilli jam or make your own, as it really quite straight forward.

The chilli jam/jelly I used was made from a recipe I found on Nigella Lawson's web site and it was incredibly quick to make, although I only made a quarter of the recipe as I only had a few fresh chillies to hand. The ingredients are just chilli peppers, red peppers, jam sugar and cider vinegar, really simple. Please hop over to the linked recipe for full instructions. Below I have noted some of the slight modifications I made

I am no chilli head so I actually removed all of the seeds from the chilli peppers whereas the recipe has you leave them in.  I just used chilli peppers and no bell peppers as my home grown chillies are very mild and quite fleshly. I also substituted  wine vinegar for cider vinegar simply because that was the vinegar I had in store. The 'jam sugar' that the recipes calls for can be substitued with ordianry sugar and an appropriate amount of pectin powder/bottle pectin just check the ratio of pectin to sugar specified on the packaging. I really do not think you will get away with plain sugar as the chilli peppers will not have enough pectin on their own to set the jelly.

I think I added quite a generous amount of pectin as my jelly went to a firm set very quickly so I poured the jam into the jar almost straight away rather than waiting the 40 minutes mentioned in the recipe. This is a picture of the jelly being tested for the set point, the surface of the jelly wrinkles very quickly when pushed with a spoon.

The jelly was so good I found myself eating it by the spoonful so next time I really must make a larger batch!

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