Welsh Scones

Growing up, I had a thing for the Royal family.

I had coffee table books all about Princess Diana, her wedding to Charles, her boys, William and Harry, along with a video of Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s wedding.

I was one of those girly-girls with a penchant for dressing up, wanting to wear twirly skirts (that whirled out when I spun in circles; I called them turn-y skirts), put on lipstick. I always wanted a tiara.

So, although the inundation of countdowns and articles and television specials and photo galleries leading up to the wedding between Prince William of Wales and Kate (I’m sorry, Catherine) Middleton has been a bit much, my inner eight-year-old girl is kind of loving it. What will the dress look like? What diamond-encrusted tiara will adorn her lovely dark locks? What will the bridesmaids wear? Will they have turn-y skirts?

Outside of the fantasy world, I don’t envy Kate. I’m happy for her and William because they do some genuinely in love, something so clearly missing in the relationship between his parents (though I couldn’t see that as a child). But I wonder too at what she’s giving up for that love. Yes, there are jewels and gorgeous clothes, first-class trips, brushes with celebrity. And there is the paparazzi, the pomp, the expectations, the constantly public life.

No matter, I will be indulging that inner child and tuning in to the wedding.

In honour of that, I’ll be eating scones (and drinking some champagne, of course — though not at 3 a.m. I’m not so devoted that I will wake up that early. That’s why I have a PVR.) as Kate walks down the aisle.

"Welsh Cake" scone

I could eat any version of scones, but I decided to create a recipe that would combine a basic scone with a Welsh cake (which share some similarities with scones, though they are fried instead of baked). My stepfather, who is of Welsh descent, often made these as a Sunday treat when we were kids. (A tradition, thankfully, that continues when I visit my parents.) They have a distinctive flavour that comes from nutmeg and currants. Basically, I wanted to use those flavours. Not just because I love them, but it’s just so fitting.

Afternoon Tea

He is Prince William of Wales, of course. And the couple will start their life as newlyweds in Anglesey, an island off the northwest coast of Wales.

I have to give credit where it’s due, so I will say that Nigella Lawson has changed the way I make scones. Her trick of grating frozen butter is just . . . perfection. I cannot recommend it enough. No matter what scone recipe I use these days, I always, always, always use this technique. Please, try it, I implore you.

This is based on her strawberry shortcake recipe, but has been adjusted.

Butter curls

Egg in Cream

Rolled and Cut

"Welsh Cake" Scones

Welsh Scones

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I may go with a tad more next time)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup half-and-half or whipping cream (you may need slightly more)
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (regular or natural cane sugar), optional

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, currants and nutmeg in a bowl. Grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients and use your fingertips to lightly toss all together. Whisk the egg into the half-and-half cream and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix. (I often need another tablespoon or two; I chalk it up to that dry Calgary weather.)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then roll gently to about ¾-inch thick. Dip a cutter in flour and cut out as many scones as possible. (Small ones are cute, but sometimes you just want a large scone with lots of room for Devonshire cream and jam.) Work the scraps back together, re-roll and cut more. (Nigella suggests using a 3-inch/6½-cm round cutter to make 8; I used a smaller one and got about 14.) Place on a baking sheet, brush the tops with the 2 tablespoons whipping cream and sprinkle with the remaining sugar, if desired. I used natural cane sugar, which has larger grains.

Bake until golden. Between 10 and 15 minutes for larger scones. Cutting them smaller? Check earlier. Mine took about 9 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Eat with copious amounts of jam and Devonshire cream. Or butter and jam. Or just jam.

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  1. oh my gosh, we are like soul-sisters. i already have my scone dough cut out and flash frozen for baking on friday morning. my friends are coming over at 4am, and we’re having a ‘tea & tiaras’ party. i’m such a nerd, but i can’t help it! i have royal wedding fever!

    1. Wow, you are certainly more dedicated than I! (Though I love your enthusiasm!) I’m recording it and waiting for a friend to come over that night.
      I am, however, considering wearing a fascinator to work that day just for giggles.

  2. I am so going to try Nigella’s technique of grating the frozen butter! I love scones, but always dread the tedious chore of cutting the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or, worse, two knives. Enjoy your champagne and scones while watching the royal wedding (although a Pimms Cup might be more apropos – available at Kensington Wine Market). :)

  3. I can personally attest to the fact that these are ridiculously amazing. It was destiny that I happened to have a jar of Devonshire cream waiting in the fridge. I obviously bought it because I knew that someday, Gwendolyn would arrive on my stoop with little beds of goodness in need of a sheet of cream and a pillow of strawberry jam.

    1. That has to be one of the most poetic comments I’ve had the pleasure of receiving. “A sheet of cream.” Swoon.

  4. I love your blog! And this sounds delicious. You also said PVR which I think is funny because I just moved to PA and can’t stop saying DVR instead of PVR. I loved your earl grey cupcakes too!

  5. Thanks for sharing the Nigella tip! I’ll definitely be giving that a try the next time. I’m a huge fan of scones, and like yourself, couldn’t resist making some in honour of the royal wedding. Well actually, it was raining and the royal wedding was 3pm live here in Singapore, and I got hungry waiting for the A-list guests to arrive :P But ooof, if only I had heard the grating frozen butter tip earlier!

  6. So I was wandering around your website looking for things to bake for my Olympic Opening Ceremony party and found these scones. Perfect! Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. I love love love your tea set. Where did you get it?!

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