I am pretty sure Sean and I ate a scone and drank multiple cups of English Breakfast Tea every single day while in the UK...and that is what lead to our snug fitting pants, extra winter layer and a new found love for cozy tea cups and clotted cream.
The food in the UK was pretty delicious...in a comfort food, meat and potatoes, stuff your face on Sundays kind of way! And we fell into the routine of afternoon tea and cookies (and cakes, and scones, and pie, and jam, and cream) so I knew that there would be a time and place for testing recipes from England, Scotland and Ireland and let me just tell you, Spring and Summer is NOT the time. Fall and winter beckon big pots of stew, meat pies, and warm cups of tea. However, being the stubborn person I am, I wanted a scone, darnit! So I took to the butter and got to recreating...
Our first stop in the UK was London and wow, were we terrified for our budget! It is so expensive there! Lovely, sure - but expensive! Thank goodness a majority of what we ate was big portions of meat and potatoes or else we would have starved! Ok, that is dramatic and I guess maybe it would have been better if the portions weren't so big...if ya know what I mean. Anywho, after a few days of exploring the grand city center of London, we took to a more quaint neighborhood that bordered a beautiful park. Anyone see the movie "Notting Hill?" -- well, it's a real place! And it is as quaint and as charming as the movie portrays it. We wandered the small streets, marveled at the classic homes, and mosied through the neighborhood shops (by the way, I fell in LOVE with this little book store called "Books for Cooks"...a cookbook only bookstore with the cutest little cafe attached! Hmm...maybe I will steal the idea and bring it here. Old Town Orange would be a perfect home for a shop like that, right?). In typical London fashion, it had started to rain during our stroll so we tucked into a cute bakery that was bustling with people called Gails Bakery. It was there where we had our first scone of our UK adventure! Being total newbies to UK way of life, we enjoyed our scone with a latte instead of a "cuppa tea" but it was an amazing latte and I don't regret it for a moment!
Our first scone of choice and one I did my best to recreate was a ginger, apricot & blueberry scone. I remember the big sugar crystals baked on top that gave a satisfying crunch, the smell of cinnamon in the bakery and the foamy latte the warmed us back up from the inside, out. There was no clotted cream (sounds so gross, right? It is basically like a whipped cream/butter hybrid that I will try to make one day with a more traditional scone) so I don't count this scone as one that fits in with "afternoon tea" but it may earn its place on an "afternoon tea" platter along with all the other scones and sandwiches.
The one I made was super delicious - but it was lacking in fresh ginger flavor. I zested about a teaspoon of fresh ginger in with the mix of dried apricots and fresh blueberries but either I need to add more next time, or try crystalized ginger instead. Also, this scone had more of a "cake-like" consistency verses a crumbly scone...which I am not sure I would like. Hm, what do you guys prefer...crumbly or cakey scones? And, do you think crystalized ginger will be overpowering or just enough ginger flavor?
Regardless, I am going to go enjoy the rest of this little reminder of Notting Hill.
Until next time & next recipe,