I have recently moved to West Bay, Bridport from Lymington, Hampshire. One of my first visits to an eaterie in West Bay was to the Cornish Bakery. As well as a large selection of pasties (obviously) there were pastels de nata ( a kind of Portuguese custard tart – a lot nicer than the British custard tart in my opinion) and there were scones. I asked the woman at the counter as to how cheesy they were. She offered me one gratis. Sadly I had to inform her that I did not find them cheesy enough.
With this disappointment I determined to try and make some myself. I searched the internet for recipes and ended up trying Felicity Cloake of the Guardian’s recipe. Felicity is an interesting writer, she looks at quite a few recipes by well known food authors and attempts to distil the best from those recipes that she has studied. In my view her distillations work very well. Her recipe was good but not cheesy enough for me.
It occurred to me that perhaps the butter in the scone dough was watering the flavour down. Why not omit the butter and replace it with more cheese using the extra cheese as the shortening. After all it still has a similar fat content to butter. Another influence was a blogger called Annabel Langbein who promotes a 3 ingredient cheese scone (excluding extra baking powder, mustard, cayenne etc). She had basically flour, cheese and yoghourt as the binding agent. This worked well.
I can’t leave well alone it seems.
I decided to go for a proportional approach to quantities, namely equal amounts of self raising flour and extra mature cheese (Cathedral City was the one used mostly as I can get it from the store nearby). I have tried yoghourt, sour cream, double cream as the liquid. I think the sour cream came out best. I think it also makes the baking powder work harder. I just used as much liquid as would make a firm sticky dough. I always added Colman’s mustard powder and cayenne pepper.
I normally baked them in a hot oven – fan 220 c for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they looked lightly tanned. I am on my sixth or seventh batch now and am pleased with the results. I do not mind the slight variation between batches. I haven’t yet had one that I would call a failure.