DAVID WOODS: Summer scones can be made at the last minute

Lemon and elderflower scones
Lemon and elderflower scones

It will soon be National Cream Tea Day (Friday, June 29) and the most important element is the scone. David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick, has a refreshing twist on an old favourite.

Whichever way you say the word ‘scone’, it conjures up images of lazy English summer afternoons. They are so quick to make and use such simple ingredients that you can rustle them up at the last minute for unexpected guests.

David Woods

David Woods

Make them especially summery by adding elderflower. These lacy blooms are currently on show in our hedgerows and are easy pickings. I prefer to wait for the berries, which I poach and use as a compote, but the flowers are delicious when turned into a syrup and used in cold drinks. And they add a subtle fragrance to traditional scones or cakes.

La Brasserie is Sofitel’s 2 AA rosette restaurant. To book a table call 01293 567070 or email SLG@sofitelgatwick.com.

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Lemon and Elderflower Scones

Makes 10-12 scones

500g plain flour

20g baking powder

70g caster sugar

100g butter, chilled

150ml milk

1 large egg

Zest of two lemons

50g mixed peel (optional)

50ml elderflower syrup (shop bought or homemade)

Method

Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl and stir in the caster sugar. Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in lemon zest and mixed peel (if using).

Mix the egg and milk together and stir into the dry ingredients, working it into a dough. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Don’t over work it.

Roll out to 3cms thick and use a round cutter to cut out circles. Lightly grease a baking tray and line it with baking paper or silicone. Place the scones on the tray and bake at the top of a hot oven, without the fan on, 180oC for 14 mins, turning the tray round half way through the cooking time. Cool on a wire rack and serve with whipping or clotted cream and your favourite jam.

To make elderflower syrup: put 100ml of water and 100g sugar into a saucepan and fill it with the elderflowers, stalks removed. Use a wooden spoon to push the flowers into the water and bring to the boil. Boil for five minutes. Leave to cool then strain out the flowers.

Chef’s tip

Put elderflowers into the bottom of a tall glass with lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice and sugar to taste. Crush with a wooden spoon and top up with sparkling mineral water for a refreshing summer drink.

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