I want to share my joy with you, the moment my scones, entered into the produce show at our village hall at the weekend, won first prize. I certainly never expected this triumph so when I went into the hall to find out the results and spotted I’d been awarded the first prize, OK I can see now, it was a bit over the top, running round the hall punching the air with my jumper pulled up over my head!
I’d been in a right quandary in the lead up to the event. Last weeks British Bake Off programme on TV had featured scones and it was only then I thought I’d enter some in the Aylburton show. The scone class has always seemed too highly contested for me to have winning ambitions. After the British Bake Off programme I pressed the red button to watch expert baker and programme judge Paul Hollywood show how to make his ‘failsafe’ scones. With classic baking like this it is always extraordinary how the same ingredients can be mixed to give totally different results. I was appalled that he used 2 eggs and when out of the oven I thought his scones too high baked. Straight to Twitter someone described his scones as ‘pants’ so I wasn’t alone. How we all have an opinion; to add fruit or leave plain, use self raising flour or plain, adding the traditional cream of tartar and baking soda yourself, using sour milk, buttermilk etc etc. See this excellent and comprehensive roundup about scone making.
Even though I’ve made scones loads of times this all sent me a bit wobbly and over the following few days I made several batches trying different recipes, other than my own, thinking they would be appreciably better than mine, but none worked out how I wanted. On the morning of the show facing the decision whether to enter fruit scones or not I fell back on my own tried and tested recipe that you can find here. The first batch I made I forgot to put the sugar in. There was just enough time to make another lot and get it right, though the look of the second batch wasn’t so good. Suffice to say, got down to the village hall, added my entry to the baking table and as they say… the rest is history.
Couldn’t find my favourite cutter so had to use a slightly larger 6.5cm (2 1/2in) diameter cutter instead. This made 7 scones and the last 2 had to be cut from reformed dough, which isn’t ideal if you are aspiring for 6 perfect matching specimens. Also as the category was for fruit scones I added 50g sultanas to my plain scone recipe as well. Paul Hollywood gave a good tip in his red button masterclass. He said when brushing the tops of the scones with milk/egg wash watch none drips down the sides as this can set and prevent the scones from rising evenly. Mind you, a wonky scone looks quite good, don’t you think?
Our village show is really great. Very charming and relaxed. So relaxed in fact that you can never guauge what the criteria is for success. You can spend time faffing about with your presentation only to be beaten by a bottle of ketchup in a plastic bottle, but it is all good fun and everyone pretends they are taking it in good heart and that’s the main thing. Will be posting more pictures later but this is my highlight of the show this year – Banana Dog.