Posts

Fluffy Cheese Scones

Whatever time of day it is, there’s something incredibly comforting about serving warmed fluffy cheese scones with melted butter and a pot of tea.

Somehow teatime at home is all highly civilised.

Fluffy Cheese Scones

This post was originally published in March 2017 as Cheese Scones with Spring Onions & Rosemary. As it has been one of your favourite recipes on le blog, I’ve updated the photos and done away with the fancy spring onions. Now you still have the fluffiest cheese scones that can be rustled up in even less time. Moreover, for 12 scones this recipe only needs one egg so while perhaps rationing our fresh produce, this recipe should rise to the occasion!

NOW ON VIDEO!
Click HERE

 

Fluffy Cheese Scones

Out of the treats that come out of our kitchen, there’s one thing I can serve for lunch – in true British style with soup – and my ‘Scottish-half’ girls always squeal,  “YES! CHEESE SCONES!”  They may be so grown up now but as soon as these scones come out of the oven, my teenagers are little girls purring like the cat that’s got the cream.  Perhaps it’s the memory of our cheese scone ritual we had, stopping off at the Scottish garden centre tearoom near Prestwick airport on our way back to Paris Beauvais.  We did this so often over the years visiting Granny and Grandpa that it was our shuttle. Alas, these days there’s far too much homework and exams.

As a result, I make cheese scones at home, as they are – surprisingly – so quick and easy to make.

Two Top Tips for High-Rise, Fluffiest Cheese Scones

My idea of a perfect cheese scone is that it’s light, high and fluffy.  I started off many years ago using the classic recipe in the Be-Ro Flour Cookbook. Now, over the years I have used this slightly adapted recipe which ensures that they have a lovely height.

There are TWO SECRETS to high rise scones:

  • Don’t be shy on the baking powder. Even if using self-raising flour, add a teaspoon; and
  • Don’t work the dough too much – including not rolling it out too flat.  Keep it quite thick, cutting them with a scone or cookie cutter.

How Do You Eat Cheese Scones?

How do you eat yours?  We just split them in half while warm and spread on a little butter, watching it melt.  Perfect with a cup of tea – and also with soup (see ideas below).

 

Best Cheese to Use for Savoury Scones

Ideally use a good, strong, mature cheddar (orange will give it a lovely colour but it’s not necessary) as the flavour should shine through. Using half of grated aged parmesan or a mature hard orange vieille mimolette adds extra punch too. The stronger the better!

Personally, as we don’t have the easiest access to the best mature cheddar in France, I use a half and half mix of what orange cheddar I can find with best quality French Comté cheese (preference 12-18 months mature), thus making them a bit of a Scottish-French Auld Alliance.

Scone Glaze

As we’re currently being careful not to use too many eggs (I want to avoid going to the shops too much!), I brushed the tops of the scones with milk only.
For a shiny royal scone look, however, the best way is to brush the tops of the scones with the milk and egg yolk glaze.

Then top the scones with more grated cheese and/or poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

The result? The cheese scones have a lovely, finished shine that gives that slight crunch to the outside and split open warm, they’re soft, light and fluffy inside – ready to spread with quickly melting butter!

fluffy cheese scones soup

Look – we’re not even a shiny batch but open us up and taste!

Quick Soup Recipes from the Pantry

Cheese scones are also a real treat served for a light lunch with a comforting bowl of soup. Here are some ideas for homemade soup, using little from the pantry:

 

perfect-fluffy-cheese-scones

Fluffy Cheese Scones Recipe

5 from 13 votes
Fluffy Cheese Scones Recipe
Fluffy Cheese Scones
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

An easy recipe for the fluffiest, light cheese scones. Only uses one egg for a batch of 12

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Light Lunch, Snack, teatime
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cheese scones, savoury scones
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 293 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 250 g (9oz) Plain (all-purpose) flour T55
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder (use only 1 tsp if using self-raising flour)
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 50 g (2oz) Butter, unsalted (at room temperature)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) Cheese, finely grated (Cheddar, French Comté, Mimolette)*
  • 1 tbsp Rosemary, finely chopped (or fresh thyme, chives, dried Herbes de Provence)
  • 1 egg (@60g)
  • 100 ml (3.5fl oz) Milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
Glaze
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7/200°C fan. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder/soda, salt, pepper, and rosemary in a large bowl.  Either rub in the butter using your fingers but if you have a mixer, this is even better.  Mix just until the butter looks like breadcrumbs in the flour then add the cheese. Add the egg and milk and mix until fully combined. The result should be a sticky dough. If you find it's too dry, add a little bit more milk.

  3. Roll out on a floured surface to about 2 cm thick (nearly an inch) and using a scone/cookie cutter (6cm/2.5"), cut out medium-sized rounds. Alternatively, to save time or if you don't have cutters, roll into a circle (use a plate as a guide) and cut into triangles with a sharp knife.

  4. Place on the baking tray and brush with a mixture of egg yolk and a little milk to glaze (yolk is optional but recommended for a shiny glaze).

  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe Notes

YIELD: Makes 12 scones.

CALORIES: One portion of 2 scones is 293 calories.

CHEESES: mature, strong cheeses are best such as cheddar, mimolette, parmesan, comté & gruyère.

BUTTERMILK SCONES: If you replace the milk with buttermilk, omit 1 tsp of baking powder, but personally I prefer cheese scones made with milk, as find they rise better.

VIDEO: Now available on video.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

 

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Truth be told, I was planning all sorts of French travel posts and recipes lately but have been so tired after radiation treatment, I’ve things left aside until after the holidays. Yesterday, however, I did make these Crispy Sesame Tuiles for teatime, simply as they were so quick to make: they’re made in only 30 minutes!

I experimented using the basic Almond Tuiles recipe in my book, Teatime in Paris. Not only did they work using sesame seeds but they were so delicious, we couldn’t stop eating them! The bonus? They can keep even longer in a biscuit tin – if you can resist the temptation.

SEE THE VIDEO 

HERE

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Sesame Seeds – High in Calcium

Why Sesame Tuiles? Well, for the last 4 months, I’ve had trouble balancing calcium levels following the removal of my thyroid – and especially parathyroid glands. Even if you don’t have thyroid issues, we need calcium in our diet for healthy bones. Sesame seeds are naturally high in calcium, so I’ve been sprinkling them on more or less everything: on breakfast oat granola, on my favourite goat’s cheese salade de chevre chaud, soups like corn chowder and grilled Béarnaise chicken. It has worked!

Then yesterday, I just thought, why not replace the almonds with sesame seeds in my favourite, easy-and-fast-to-make teatime Tuiles? They’re even crispier and not as sweet as the classic French biscuits.

sesame tuiles

Whether you need more calcium or not in your diet, I urge you to try them: you’ll discover that Crispy Sesame Tuiles are also rather compulsive eating. What’s more – YOU NEED ONLY 2 EGG WHITES!

Sesame Tuiles

How Can I Serve Sesame Tuiles?

Crispy sesame tuiles are not just great on their own for teatime. Here are some ideas to serve with some of our favourite desserts:

In the recipe I have used white sesame seeds but try black sesame too. What about serving sesame tuiles with this Black Sesame ice cream, inspired by our gourmet visit to Japan last summer.

Sesame tuiles ice cream
Read more on our experience of Teatime in Japan here.

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

5 from 8 votes
Sesame Tuiles Best Recipe
Crispy Sesame Tuiles
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Cooling Time
4 mins
Total Time
22 mins
 

A variation of French Tuiles (literally 'roof tiles' by their biscuit shape) using sesame seeds instead of almonds - and high in calcium. Recipe adapted from French almond Tuiles from my book, Teatime in Paris.

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: teatime recipes
Servings: 9 people
Calories: 162 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 70 g (2.5oz) Egg whites from 2 eggs
  • 65 g (2.25oz) cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 65 g (2.25oz) butter melted
  • 35 g (1.25oz) plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 65 g (2.25oz) sesame seeds
  • pinch salt (fleur de sel)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/170°C fan/gas 5.

  2. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir together with a spoon until well combined.

  3. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper or a silicone mat and spoon the mixture into oval discs - using the back of a spoon - to about 6cm (2.5") in diameter.

  4. Bake in separate batches* (one tray at a time) in the oven for 8 minutes - keep your eye on them, as they cook fast. They should be toasted around the edges and cooked but golden in the middle.

  5. Straight from the oven, transfer each flat tuile (using a palet knife or pie slice) to a rolling pin to shape them to their tuile - or roof-tile - shape. Otherwise transfer to a wire rack to cool for 4 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Enjoy the tuiles freshly made, otherwise eat within 2 days if stored in an airtight container.

* If not using all the batter, keep covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Crispy Sesame Tuiles

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis

Who said that a French Clafoutis should be made only with cherries? Cherry season has perhaps started in France, but let’s also celebrate the sweetest, shiny and seasonal strawberries with a Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis. 

Now on Video

Demonstration: How to make a versatile French Clafoutis

 

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis

With some desserts, I’m fussy – especially with French Clafoutis, a speciality of the Limousin in France. In my honest opinion, a clafoutis is a light, set eggy custard that’s perfumed with fresh seasonal fruits (traditionally made with cherries – see this classic Cherry Clafoutis Recipe with a hint of almonds) and not a stick-to-the-top-of-your-mouth heavy cake-like dessert that can taste of too much flour.

I urge you to try this twist to the classic – not unlike the Raspberry Clafoutis with Lemon Verbena – where I’ve replaced the flour with fragrant pistachios.

pistachio-strawberry-tart

Strawberry Pistachio tartlets from ‘Teatime in Paris’

Strawberry and Pistachio Desserts

If you’ve been following the recipes on le blog, you’ll notice that strawberry and pistachio are one of my favourite flavour combinations.

Haven’t tried this combination yet?

Then do try this strawberry pistachio panna cotta (serve with pistachio macarons and it’s heaven!), or the strawberry and pistachio tartlet recipe from the tart chapter in ‘Teatime in Paris‘. I’m sure you’ll be concocting many more of your own twists with this combination in your recipes.

Strawberry pistachio clafoutis

Adding in some wild strawberries to fill in the gaps!

Fresh Strawberries

The other day at the market in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, I simply got carried away.  Well, tell a Scot there’s a promotion or special price for 4 packs of sweet-smelling strawberries and I pounced on these Fraises de Charlotte like they’d go out of fashion tomorrow. Needless to say, the last couple of batches were just ever so slightly fatigué, so baking them at this ‘just becoming tired’ stage is perfect for making this Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis.

I do stress that you use FRESH strawberries if possible rather than frozen for this recipe, so that all the flavours are at their best.

strawberry pistachio clafoutis

Bubble, bubble, out of the oven

Pop in a Few Wild Strawberries

I still can’t believe that we’ve been blessed by the birds spreading a carpet of wild strawberries (fraises des bois) in the garden this year.  I thought that mint in the herb garden took over the other plants, but I’m now surprised to see the strawberries popping up in all nooks and crannies, as we say in Scotland.  They’re like tiny voilet-tasting bonbons.

strawberry pistachio clafoutis

Baking Strawberries Intensifies the Flavours

In this strawberry pistachio clafoutis, it’s the strawberries that dominate: baking strawberries in this way intensifies the flavours – it’s incredible! The pistachio is quite subtle but adds that extra intrigue to the fruit, plus helps to soak up the juices too.

Please note, that for all my recipes, I encourage you to weigh out your ingredients using a digital scale (find out why in this post), so that you have continued successful results each time you make this.

Don’t Have Pistachios?

If you don’t have pistachios, then use ground almonds instead.  This recipe is GLUTEN FREE.

 

Some pink peonies for you from the local market.

French peonies from the market

Strawberry Clafoutis Dessert

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis Recipe

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Resting Time
10 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Strawberry Pistachio Clafoutis, a delicious twist to the classic cherry baked custard French recipe using fresh strawberries and ground pistachios (or almonds) to soak up the juices. Gluten free treat for breakfast, dessert or teatime.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: clafoutis, pistachio, strawberry, gluten-free,
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 273 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 275 g (10 oz) fresh strawberries washed, hulled & cut in 2 if big
  • 4 medium organic eggs (or 3 large eggs)
  • 1 organic egg yolk
  • 70 g (2.5oz) sugar + 1 tbsp for the dish
  • 170 g (6oz) single or pouring cream (I use half fat cream 12%)
  • 50 g (1.75oz) ground pistachios (or ground almonds)
  • 1/2 tbsp Amaretto or Kirsch liqueur (or other liqueur, depending on fruit chosen) (optional)
  • few drops almond extract (or vanilla powder/extract)
  • 15 g (0.5oz) butter for the dish
  • 1 tbsp almond slivers (optional, for topping)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/ 200°C / 400°F (gas 6).

  2. Butter a gratin or pie dish and top with about a tablespoon of sugar, shaking the dish to spread it evenly.  Lay the strawberries over the surface in one layer.

  3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolk, sugar, cream, ground pistachios (or almonds) and extract, if using.

  4. Pour this egg mixture over the strawberries and if using, sprinkle over some slivered almonds.

    Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked in the middle (it shouldn't sink in the middle). I'd suggest placing the dish on a baking tray to catch any sticky juices that could run out, if too full.

  5. Set aside to cool and either serve at room temperature or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is just as good using ground almonds (almond flour) instead of pistachios. Serve warm or chilled for breakfast, teatime or for dessert.

Dessert matching wines with strawberries: this is great with a light fruity red such as a Pinot Noir (from Alsace or a Burgundy), or a gamay Beaujolais Cru as it brings out the fruitiness yet light enough not to overpower the dessert. Otherwise a chilled rosé Champagne or New World fizz.

Variations using the same recipe batter (gluten free):

Recipe now demonstrated on Video.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com