One of my favorite fiction authors is Maeve Binchy. One can get lost in her books as the characters become friends and you become invested in their lives. Her stories are centered in Ireland with realistic characters whose lives are not perfect and the endings are not always those story-book romantic endings. Her writing was so vivid that you were transported to Ireland and walking down the beautiful Irish roads. The characters often appeared in numerous books and you felt joy and sadness with them. Sometimes anger at the decisions they made. More than 20 years ago I read her book “Circle of Friends” and since then always look forward to her new books and re-reading the older ones. I have a ton of hard-covered books, paperbacks, and e-books on my Kindle. I was saddened when I heard of her death this past summer because it was like losing a friend. Plus I was so looking forward to more books. Then I heard she had one more book she was writing “A Week in Winter”. I pre-ordered the book so I could get it immediately when it was released in the US. I must admit it is sitting on my reading table because I am having a hard time picking up and reading her last book! I feel everything must be perfect before reading this last precious book. I need to be in the right mood with perhaps the perfect cup of tea and scones. Below is my recipes for Irish scones. I rarely make scones so please do not compare this recipe to anyone’s Irish grandmother who has her recipe perfected! I read that cake flour makes a tender scone. Does anyone know if that is true?
So here is the scone recipe…. now to read Maeve’s last book….
1 3/4 to 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces cold Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup raisins or currants
1/2 cup skim milk
1 large egg, plus additional beaten egg for brushing over tops
Additional sugar for sprinkling over the tops ; sugar in the raw is nice to use
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 425° F. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl.
Using fingertips, pastry blender, or butter knives to cut the Kerrygold Butter into flour mixture to form coarse crumbs. I start by using two butter knives and then finish using my fingers. Add and mix in raisins.
Whisk together milk and 1 egg. Make a well in the flour mixture; pour in milk mixture. Using fork, stir just until soft, moist dough is formed.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface; gently knead 1 or 2 times to incorporate loose pieces of dough. (Do not over knead.) Pat dough to 1 inch thickness. I found the dough to be very wet so I added more flour until it was an appropriate texture to create the scones.
Cut into 6 wedges. Place scones on lightly sprayed baking sheet. Brush tops with additional beaten egg; sprinkle with sugar. Do not skip this step as it adds a lot to the scones.
Bake until golden brown, about 14 to 17 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking for more even browning. Serve warm with Clotted Cream, Kerrygold Irish Butter, or jam. I was going to make Clotted Cream and I had the heavy cream. Unfortunately, I purchased it too early and it was past the expiration date. But I do not mind admitting that I like butter. I do not use it often in cooking but for a special occasion like this I am having my scones with the Kerrygold Irish Butter! Now I must go and make my Irish Stew!