Read it and eat it: Scones are a Downton Abbey reading requirement
Enjoy the Countess of Carnarvon's Lady Almina and The Real Downton Abbey with a fresh batch of scones from Baking Out Loud.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration for the hit PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and the basis of the fictional character Lady Cora Crawley. There’s no better way to enjoy this rich tale than with a plate of scones.
Recipe from Baking Out Loud by Hedy Goldsmith
FOR THE SCONES
1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and very cold
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (cherries, apricots, currants—really any dried fruit or a combination of several)
3 tablespoons half-and half
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
FOR THE TOPPING
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water
¼ cup turbinado sugar
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F (350°F if using a convection oven). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.
2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, or until well blended. Add the cold butter pieces and mix on medium-low speed for about 3 minutes, or until the largest pieces of butter are about pea size. Add the dried fruit and mix until combined.
3. In a small bowl, combine the half-and-half, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and whisk until blended.
4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes, or until just combined. The dough will be partially mixed, with a little flour remaining on the bottom of the bowl.
5. Scrape the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a work surface, and knead a few times, until it all just comes together. Do not overwork the dough, or the scones will be tough.
6. Shape the dough into a 7-inch round about 1 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the round into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
7. Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg and milk, and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
8. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes (12 to 15 minutes if using a convection oven), or until the tops of the scones are deep golden brown. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey Book Excerpt