Afternoon tea is brazenly frivolous. Not only does it flagrantly flout traditional meal times, but also its ingredients read like a roll-call of treats: fizz, finger sandwiches, elegant tarts and cream-laden cakes. Modern treats, too. This menu of cardamom cake, spiced crab sandwiches and chocolate-pimped scones is moreish, memorable and anything but chintzy.
Why have fruit scones when you can have chocolate!
Dark chocolate chip scones
Makes 8 scones
350g plain flour
A pinch of sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
85g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
3 tbsp caster sugar
75g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 beaten egg, to glaze
1 Preheat oven to 220C/Fan 200C/ 425F. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter. Rub it in with your fingers until the mix resembles fine crumbs. Fold in the sugar and chopped chocolate.
2 Gently warm the milk until warm but not hot. Add the vanilla (if using) and lemon juice. Set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet in the oven.
3 Make a well in the dry mix and add the warmed milk. Combine it quickly with a cutlery knife – it will seem pretty wet at first. Scatter some flour on a clean work surface. Tip the dough out.
4 Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour. Fold the dough over 2–3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round, about 4cm thick.
5 Dip a 5cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) into some flour. Plunge into the dough. Repeat until you have four scones. Press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and transfer carefully onto the preheated baking tray.
6 Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking. If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a low oven (about 160C/Fan 140C/ 325F) for a few mins to refresh.
Turn to page 25 of June's The Simple Things for more of our afternoon tea menu, including:
Curried egg & chive sandwiches
Crab, chilli & fennel sandwiches
Broad bean, goat’s curd & mint open sandwiches
Cardamom, rose & strawberry cake
Cherry & elderflower cheesecake tartlets
Peachy lemon verbena iced tea