These light-as-air scones contain little nuggets of soft apple and combine the best of sweet and savory in every delicious mouthful. Best eaten warm from the oven, but if you happen to have leftovers they are great halved and toasted.
2 apples, peeled and diced into 1 cm pieces
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
50 grams very cold butter
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Place the apples on a lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly coloured and they look a little dry. Spread out on a large plate and cool. Place in the fridge or freezer to cool faster if necessary.
Increase the oven to 200˚C.
Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, allspice and cheese in a large bowl. Grate in the cold butter and toss everything together with a fork. Place the bowl in the fridge if the apples are still cooking and need to cool.
Mix in the cooled apples then add the milk. Quickly bring together with a fork to form a very soft dough. Tip onto a lightly floured bench and pat into a rectangle about 3 cm thick. Cut into 8 pieces and carefully transfer to a lined baking tray. The scones will be very soft. Brush the tops with beaten egg then bake for 12 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve warm with butter. Makes 8
Cook’s tip: Use very cold butter and cheese and the butter can even be frozen before grating.
I find adding grated butter and cheese lessens the chance of over working the flour, as it just needs mixing through with a fork – no warm fingers involved.
When adding the milk, bring the mixture together with the least amount of strokes possible. Over-mixing makes for tough scones.
Tip the soft dough onto a lightly floured bench and with lightly floured hands quickly pat into the desired shape.
Time is of the essence. Don’t wash your sticky hands, just cut the scones and gently lift them onto the tray.
Quickly brush with egg and into the oven. Now you can wash your hands!