Does anyone have afternoon tea any more Plates of dainty crustless sandwiches, cakes on a tiered stand and tea in a teapot with china cups and saucers. Oh, I know you can sit down to tea in hotels and I’ve noticed some fabulous vintage tea party businesses opening up, but I mean afternoon tea at home.
I don’t think many people do any more do they. The concept doesn’t seem to fit in with our lifestyles now somehow. Maybe it’s the air of calmness and tranquillity that an afternoon tea gives out, in complete contrast to the way most of us rush around from one thing to another, trying to cram as much in to the day as we can. We all complain that we don’t have enough time to do anything, let alone sit down at 4 o’clock for tea and cake. It’s a shame. I think society could only benefit if everything stopped for tea every now and again.
We had friends to visit over the weekend, a rare but happy event. A late afternoon visit meant that tea and scones, specifically blueberry and almond scones, were the order of the day and milder weather (windows flung open in January!) didn’t make blueberries feel out of place.
These aren’t delicate scones though. I don’t have a talent for turning out refined, elegant things, coming much more from the rustic school of baking. Baked in a round to cut in to doorstop wedges and packed with blueberries and almonds these are bordering on cakes rather than scones. The sour cream stops them from being heavy and lends a very slight tang whilst a sprinkling of brown sugar keeps them on the right side of sweet. Served alongside mugs of tea that you need two hands to hold it’s a relaxed and easy afternoon tea.
These were inspired by a recipe for Pear and blackberry scones in the February 2013 issue of Good Food but is currently unavailable online.
Packed full of blueberries and ground almonds, these scones make a perfect addition to the tea time table.
- 200g ground almonds
- 250g self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 50g light brown soft sugar, plus extra for sprinkling.
- 115g butter, cold and cut in to cubes
- 225g blueberries
- 200ml sour cream – you may need a little more or a little less
- Preheat the oven to 190c fan and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
- Place the almonds, flour, baking powder and sugar in to a bowl. Mix to combine. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stir through the blueberries. It’s easier to do it now rather than trying mix them in to the dough.
- Add the majority of the sour cream and stir until it comes together as a sticky dough. Add more if you need to. Be gentle with it and don’t mix more than necessary.
- Once it’s come together dump it on to the prepared baking sheet and shape in to a flat round about 1 inch thick. Using a knife, score it in to 8 wedges, cutting almost all the way through but leaving the base intact. Sprinkle with a spoonful of sugar.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. You may need to cover it with more greaseproof paper after 20 minutes or so if the edges are getting too brown.
- Leave it on the tray for a couple of minutes and then, still on the paper, transfer to a wire cooling rack. It will still seem soft, especially in the middle but will firm up as it cools.
- Once almost cool spilt in to the wedges that you marked earlier and serve either still slightly warm or cold.
The blueberries will mean that the round still feels soft once it’s cooked, it will firm up as it cools. The amount of fruit also makes a rather crumbly scone.
As with all scones, the dough requires a gentle touch so be careful not to over mix.
These really are best the day that they are made, it won’t be a hardship to eat them all though.