Charlie Gray of ‘Ask Charlie’ shares her thoughts how to perfect a lockdown afternoon tea and her recipe for lavender scones
During these extraordinary times, I have gone back to one of my favourite pleasures in life – afternoon tea.
Now, I know there has been a shortage of flour with the world and his wife taking up baking, but it does give me great delight each afternoon to sit down and enjoy a delicious treat.
Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford introduced afternoon tea in 1840 taken at 4 o’clock in the afternoon as she simply believed the wait between lunch and dinner was just too long. I, for one, am with her there. It was far from ideal to be getting hungry back in the 1840s and it’s just the same when you’re in lockdown also.
I am married to a proper foodie and if something gets the thumbs up from him, I know I’m onto a goodie so I wanted to share this with you: I’ve got him onto lavender scones. He was a little sceptical at first and not so keen to try, but now there is no stopping him.
Lavender scones are so easy to make and you don’t even need to wait for them to cool before you can enjoy them. Happy baking.
My recipe for lavender scones follows:
85g butter cold and cut into small cubes.
3 tablespoons caster sugar infused with lavender.
350g self-raising flour.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
½ teaspoon of table salt.
175ml room temperature milk.
A squeeze of lemon juice
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
1 teaspoon of dried lavender.
1 egg beaten to glaze.
Please dried lavender and some fresh lavender (can just be the leaves) into the caster sugar and leave for 48 hours.
Sieve the sugar before using and discard the lavender.
Heat the oven to 210°C or use the roasting oven of an Aga.
Place 175ml in a jug and add in the squeeze of lemon and vanilla extract, set aside until it is room temperature or gently heat a little.
Place the flour, salt, baking powder in a large bowl and in the cold cubed butter.
Using your fingertips gently rub the mixture until you have fine breadcrumbs.
Add in the lavender infused caster sugar and teaspoon of dried lavender, mixture it through.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk.
Using and knife stir until it comes together in a ball it will be quite wet.
Generously flour the work surface and fold the dough over a few times until its smooth but be careful not to over work the dough.
Shape into a round approximately 4cm deep and using a fluted cookie cutter cut out as many rounds as you can and place on a lined baking tray, reshape the dough and cut out more. I make twelve at a time.
Brush the top with the egg wash, leave to rest for 10 minutes before baking for 10 minutes until golden.
Serve warm with jam and clotted cream and remember that these freeze well also.