Local larder: Cheddar Scones with Sun-dried Tomato and Basil

In the fifth recipe in our series of quarantine cooking recipes – flexible dishes where you can add, subtract and adapt any of the ingredients you buy locally – local graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Tamsin Robinson, turns her pastry-making skills to the ultimate savoury British snack.

This basic cheese scone recipe can be adapted to suit your tastes or whatever you have in the cupboards, and although buttermilk is best to use, you can use sour cream or regular milk too. 

Her recipe makes 12-15 small scones.

Ingredients

225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
50g cold unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
160g mature cheddar cheese, grated
50g sun-dried tomato
A handful of fresh basil (about 10 leaves or so)
130g buttermilk 
1 egg, beaten

Adaptions

  • Flour: it’s easier to use self-raising flour, but you can use plain flour + 3 tsp baking powder instead. This recipe can also be made using a gluten-free flour blend. 
  • Cheese: you do not have to use cheddar in this recipe, but a strong, sharp cheese is recommended. Something like Red Leicester, Comte or Manchego would all work well too.
  • Herbs: if you do not have any fresh herbs, use ½ tsp or your dried herb of choice. This could be basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano… or a combination of mixed dried herbs.
  • Buttermilk: buttermilk gives the scones a great texture, but you can use both normal milk or sour cream instead. 

Other flavour combination ideas

  • 160g manchego + 50g olives 
  • 160g gruyere + 50g red onion (cook down the red onion with a little oil in a pan first until soft and slightly caramelised. Then leave to cool before using in the scone recipe) 
  • 160g cheese of choice + handfuls of fresh rosemary and thyme 

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Finely dice the cold butter, and put it together with the flour in a large bowl. Rub the mixture between your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. 

Add in a pinch or two of freshly ground black pepper.

Roughly chop the sun-dried tomato and basil leaves, then add to the bowl along with 150g grated cheese.  

Mix together until everything is well distributed. 

Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add in the buttermilk. Use a spoon to gently combine the mixture together, and then go in with your hands to form a dough. Do not keep mixing once the dough has formed as it will overwork the dough. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and pat down to about an inch thick. 

Take a small cutter (4cm or 5cm diameter) and cut scones out of the dough. Cut as many as possible before reforming the dough into a ball to cut the remainder.

Brush each scone with a little beaten egg and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

Bake for 11 mins until golden brown. Once done, allow to cool on a wire rack.

The scones are lovely served warm with a little butter, or taken along to a picnic. 

Originally working in finance, Tamsin Robinson enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu to re-train as a pastry chef. Having now graduated with her patisserie diploma, she is looking to open her own baking business soon.

If you liked this recipe, you might also like our other recipes in our Quarantine Cooking series: white chocolate and Biscoff cheesecakeapple and olive oil cakemacaroni cheese and potato and chicory salad.

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