All of my regular readers here know how proud I am of my British-Canadian heritage. That said, I am probably one of the few Canadians left who whole-heartedly embrace the "Victoria" in what most simply call our "May 2-4 Weekend". For my American readers, this is the weekend when many Canucks beetle off to open their cottages up North, and ceremoniously crack open a "2-4" of good, strong Canadian beer.
Not THIS family, however.
We stay at home (though we do indulge in a few bottles of our favourite beer: Stratford Ale), and usually take great delight in slogging away in the garden. When the long weekend actually falls when it's supposed to (on-or-around the twenty-fourth of May), it is the first weekend when I actually feel safe enough to plant anything. Being in a "Zone 5" location, my mother's sage advice of "NOTHING before the end of May!!" has never failed me.
This weekend, however, it is raining. And while that seldom stops me from going out in my wellies and a raincoat to have a good dig with my garden fork, the combination of wet-and-COLD has enticed me to stay indoors this afternoon. (My ancestors would be ashamed of me, I know.)
But, what better way to spend a dark and dreary Sunday, than to whip up a great big batch of scones-- the recipe courtesy of the glorious Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia?! On Friday, I purchased a large (read: EXPENSIVE) pot of clotted cream (also known as "Devonshire Cream") to go along with home-made jam... This afternoon, the girlies and I will have tea, in honour of the holiday.
I flatter myself that even though I am still wearing my grubby overalls-- in the faint hope that a ray of sunshine will eventually break through the clouds later on today-- Queen Victoria would have heartily approved of our celebration.
The Empress Hotel's Scones
**This is an English recipe, and uses a food weight-scale for measurement.**
2 lb, 4 oz flour
9 oz sugar
9 oz butter
2 oz baking powder
8 oz raisins
16 oz whipping cream
a pinch of salt
Mix together the flour, butter, sugar, baking powder and salt with a pastry cutter, until it is the size of small peas. Add the eggs, one-by-one, and mix. Add the raisins. Then, add the cream, and mix until the dough is smooth.
Roll out the dough to a 1/2 inch thickness, and cut out the scones to the desired size.
Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and lightly brush the tops with egg-wash (I beat up a bit of egg-and-water, or you can use egg-and-milk... This just helps to brown the tops and give them a bit of shine).
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Makes about 35 regular-sized scones.
Top with butter, jam, and a big dollop of fresh cream...
Put the kettle on!