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More Nigella recipes

Lily's Scones

by . Featured in HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS
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Introduction

These are the best scones I’ve ever eaten, which is quite how it should be since they emanate from one of those old-fashioned cooks who starts a batch the minute the door-bell rings at teatime. Yes, I know they look as if they’ve got cellulite – it’s the cream of tartar, which is also why, despite their apparent solidity, they have that dreamy lightness.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

These are the best scones I’ve ever eaten, which is quite how it should be since they emanate from one of those old-fashioned cooks who starts a batch the minute the door-bell rings at teatime. Yes, I know they look as if they’ve got cellulite – it’s the cream of tartar, which is also why, despite their apparent solidity, they have that dreamy lightness.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Lily's Scones
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Makes: 12

Metric Cups
  • 500 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 4½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 50 grams cold unsalted butter (diced)
  • 25 grams trex vegetable shortening in teaspooned lumps (or use another 25g/2 tablespoons butter)
  • 300 millilitres milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten, for egg-wash)
  • 3⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (diced)
  • 3 tablespoons trex vegetable shortening in teaspooned lumps (or use another 25g/2 tablespoons butter)
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten, for egg-wash)

Method

You will need a 6½ cm / 2½ inch crinkle-edged round cutter and a lightly greased baking tray.

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/gas mark 7/450°F.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Rub in the fats till it goes like damp sand. Add the milk all at once, mix briefly - briefly being the operative word - and then turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough.
  3. Roll out to about 3cm thickness. Dip the cutter into some flour, then stamp out at least 10 scones. You get 12 in all from this, but may need to reroll for the last 2. Place on the baking tray very close together - the idea is that they bulge and stick together on cooking - then brush the tops with the egg-wash. Put in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until risen and golden.
  4. Always eat freshly baked, preferably still warm from the oven, with clotted cream and jam or, my favourite, Thunder and Lightning, which is (as in the picture) clotted cream and black treacle.

You will need a 6½ cm / 2½ inch crinkle-edged round cutter and a lightly greased baking tray.

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/gas mark 7/450°F.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Rub in the fats till it goes like damp sand. Add the milk all at once, mix briefly - briefly being the operative word - and then turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough.
  3. Roll out to about 3cm thickness. Dip the cutter into some flour, then stamp out at least 10 scones. You get 12 in all from this, but may need to reroll for the last 2. Place on the baking tray very close together - the idea is that they bulge and stick together on cooking - then brush the tops with the egg-wash. Put in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until risen and golden.
  4. Always eat freshly baked, preferably still warm from the oven, with clotted cream and jam or, my favourite, Thunder and Lightning, which is (as in the picture) clotted cream and black treacle.

Additional Information

VARIATION:
Add 75g of raisins or sultanas for fruit scones, or, something I'm keen on, use the same amount of dried sour cherries, with or without the finely grated zest of half an orange. To make cheese scones, add 75g of mature Cheddar, grated.

VARIATION:
Add 75g of raisins or sultanas for fruit scones, or, something I'm keen on, use the same amount of dried sour cherries, with or without the finely grated zest of half an orange. To make cheese scones, add 75g of mature Cheddar, grated.

Tell us what you think

What 12 Others have said

  • I love these scones. They are light and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and absolutely wonderful with your favorite jam. I like adding a little bit of sugar in my dough, though: as I usually only make half the recipe to obtain 6 scones, I sift in 2 tbps of sugar (so, 4 tbps for the full recipe). By adding this amount, you certainly won't obtain sweet scones, it just seems to impart a little more flavor to them. Make yourself a batch, you won't regret it! You can even make ahead and freeze, then pop in the oven when you want to eat them. Thanks Nigella!

    Posted by GoddessInProgress on 28th April 2020
  • Made these scones this afternoon and they were the lightest, loveliest I have ever made. I made them in the food processor as this reduces the amount of contact with warm hands. I made half the amount of dough but got 12 scones of the size I would expect for afternoon tea. I also just pressed the dough into shape before cutting, rather than using a rolling pin. Thanks Nigella for another great recipe!

    Posted by nici1493 on 29th March 2020
  • I found these a bit too salty so next time will use less salt than in the recipe, but they were nice and light.

    Posted by GraceOfBase on 10th July 2018
  • Amazing! The scones are crispy from the outside and tender inside.

    Posted by olkin on 26th June 2018
  • I love all of your cookbooks. I am so delighted to attempt these scones, first time ever making them for a dear friend. Wish me luck .

    Posted by cookie3 on 12th June 2018
  • Excellent comments, can't wait to make them!

    Posted by heather747 on 12th June 2018
  • I haven't made scones for aeons so I was glad to see these. Tomorrow's the day!

    Posted by Domestaroo on 9th June 2018
  • These were PERFECT! I have tried multiple scone recipes and they were always just shy of what I remembered from my several teas around the UK. These were exactly what I was looking for!!! Light and fluffy, not sweet like American scones. Made them as part of a Tea to enjoy while watching Prince Harry's wedding and they were a hit. I knew Nigella would not disappoint!!!

    Posted by NYgrl on 20th May 2018
  • Fab! Easy peasy! I added 5-6 tbsp caster sugar based on family feedback after my first batch. 20 mins from start to finish :-)

    Posted by NattyDred on 2nd April 2018
  • Very, very, very good!

    Posted by Magnamagna on 8th December 2017
  • this recipe looks delicious and easy to make this sweet. Thanks for posting this recipe.

    Posted by kenniceangle on 3rd July 2017
  • This is my "go-to" recipe for scones; always turns out delicious. Just made them last Sunday for Mother's Day (in Canada) for my English mother-in-law.

    Posted by Chablis on 16th May 2017
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