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Best British Currant Scones

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These light and fluffy scones are so easy to make – with or without currants! They’re the perfect vehicle for clotted cream, lemon curd, jam or even German plum butter.

Would you believe that I never liked scones until I visited the UK – when I promptly fell deeply in love with current scones, clotted cream, and jam? I almost never eat scones in the US but I’ll gladly eat one every single day when I’m in the UK or Ireland!

Scones with clotted cream are my go-to sweet treat in the UK, always with a big cup of tea. Now that I’ve learned how to make them at home, I can enjoy them anytime. And now you can, too!

Why make British scones (English scones, Irish scones, whichever you prefer) instead of US American scones? Because British and American scones differ in a couple vital ways.

First, British scones have less butter and sugar. Well, less butter and sugar in the scone, that is. The amount of butter and sugar consumed in and on the scone via clotted cream, jam and lemon curd is probably about the same!

Second, in my experience, British scones often don’t include the mix-ins that are commonly found in the often sweeter American scones, like blueberries, nuts or chocolate chips. I’ve most commonly found plain scones and currant scones in the UK and Ireland (and maybe cheese scones?). That said, you probably can find other types of scones, but whenever I’ve bought scones, I’ve always only had the option of plain or currant.

I originally thought that another difference is in how the scones are cut. The scones I’ve eaten in the UK and Ireland have all been round, while scones I see in the US are cut into triangles. However, I’ve since learned that you will find British scones in the triangle shape. I guess I just need to go back to the UK and Ireland and do more scone research. 🙂 

As I mentioned, I prefer British scones because I love the scone + cream + jam (or lemon curd) combo. It’s heaven. American scones are too sweet and dry for my tastes. The recipe I’m sharing with you today makes it easy to enjoy fresh British scones anywhere!

I’ve made these scones loads of time and have even taught others to make them in virtual baking classes. They’re are always a hit! They’re perfect for all kinds of occasions, such as:

  • tea parties 
  • office parties 
  • holidays
  • neighborhood potlucks
  • showers
  • birthdays
  • simple afternoon tea with a friend (scones + tea)
  • brunch
  • dessert
  • pretty much anytime you’re craving scones 

These scones are light, fluffy, and tender. If you’ve got 30 minutes, you have enough time to bake a batch of fresh hot scones – with or without currents.

If you don’t want to use currants, you can add it any mix-in you’d like…raisins, nuts, cheese, cranberries, etc. It may not be traditional but it will be delicious, so I say go for it and experiment! 

What to Put on Scones

My favorite toppings are: 

If you want clotted cream with your scones, I recommend making the cream 24 hours before you make the scones. Doing so will not only allow enough time to cook and chill the cream, but you can use any leftover liquid cream in the scones.

Same goes for making homemade cultured butter, lemon curd, plum butter or jam. Make each a few days in advance and then make the scones the day you want to serve them so they’re nice and fresh. 

These scones are best eaten the day they are made – they’re delicious right out of the oven – but I’ve found that they taste great the next day, too.  

Do I Have to Use Currants?

Nope! Dried currants are my favorite mix-in but you can use any kind of dried fruit, nuts or even grated cheese and herbs. You can also make them plain.

Can I Freeze Scones?

Yes! You can either cut out your scones and then freeze them or you can bake your scones and then freeze them. I prefer to freeze unbaked scones so that I can take them out of the freezer and make freshly-baked scones.

To freeze unbaked scones, cut them out, place on a baking pan, and place in the freezer until fairly frozen. Then, place the frozen scones in a freezer ziplock bag or freezer-safe container. This way your scones won’t freeze stuck together.

How to Make the Best British Currant Scones

The first step is to pre-heat your oven to 500F/260C. You’re going to turn the oven down when you bake your scones, but for now, get it nice and hot.

Then, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until everything is well combined.

Cut the cold butter in several pieces and add it to the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it looks like small crumbs. 

Add the currants (or whatever you want to add to your scones) and mix with a spatula or spoon until combined. 

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add to the flour a little at a time. Careful: depending on the size of your eggs and whether you scooped, spooned or weighed your flour, you might not need the entire amount. So don’t dump it all in at once!

Stir everything together with a spoon or spatula until the dough forms a ball. If you realize you’ve added too much milk/egg, just add a little more flour. You’re going to add more flour in the next step, so add just enough for the dough to form a ball.

Knead the dough several times on well-floured surface with well-floured hands until the surface of the dough is smooth and doesn’t have any cracks. Then press dough to 1 inch [25mm] thickness.

Cut out your scones using a round biscuit or scone cutter or a small jam jar or glass. You should get anywhere from 7 to 12 scones, depending on the size of your cutter.

Transfer your scones to a lined baking pan. Then gather the remaining dough into a ball, knead together once or twice until smooth, and again press it out to 1 inch [25mm] thickness. Cut out the rest of your scones and transfer them to your baking sheet. 

Brush the top of the scones using what’s left of the milk and egg mixture (or mix one additional egg with 1 tsp milk, cream or water in a small bowl and brush that on the tops of the scones). Sometimes I have enough milk/egg left over, sometimes I don’t.

Turn your oven down to 425 F/215C. Bake smaller scones for 10-12 minutes and large scones for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Check your scones 8-10 minutes in to see how browned they’re getting. If the tops are nicely browned but they’re not finished baking, place a piece of foil over the scones.

Cool scones on a wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature with butter, clotted cream, whipped cream, lemon curd or jam. These scones are best eaten the day they’re made but I’ve found them to still be good the next day. Enjoy!

Download the guide now!
Best British Scones with Currents

Best British Scones with Currents

Yield: 12 scones
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

If you've got 30 minutes, you have more than enough time to whip up a batch of tender, flakey British style scones. Mmmmm!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups [360g] flour (see note below)
  • 1/3 cup [65g] sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp [115g] butter, (unsalted, cold)
  • 3/4 cup [100g] dried currants
  • 1/2 cup [125ml] whole milk or cream (see note below)
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 500F/260C. 
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix everything together.
  3. Cut cold butter in several pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like small crumbs. 
  4. Add currants (or whatever you want to mix in) and mix with a spoon or spatula until well combined. 
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add to flour a little at a time. Careful! You might not need the entire amount so don't dump it all in at once. Stir with a spoon or spatula until dough forms a ball.
  6. Knead dough several times on well-floured surface with well-floured hands until the surface of the dough is smooth and doesn't have any cracks. 
  7. Press dough to 1 inch [25mm] thickness. Cut out scones using a round biscuit or scone cutter or a small jam jar or glass. You should get anywhere from 7 to 12 scones, depending on the size of your cutter.
  8. Transfer scones to a lined baking pan. Gather remaining dough into a ball, knead it together once or twice smooth, and again roll it out to 1 inch [25mm] thickness. Cut out the rest of your scones and transfer them to your baking sheet. 
  9. Brush the top of the scones using what's left of the milk and egg mixture or whisk one additional egg with 1 tsp milk, cream or water in a small bowl. Brush on the tops of the scones.
  10. Turn oven down to 425 F/215C. Bake smaller scones for 10-12 minutes and large scones for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cool on a wire rack.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter, clotted cream, whipped cream, lemon curd or jam. Enjoy!
  13. Scones are best eaten the day they're made but I've found they're ok the next day, too.

Notes

1. FLOUR: The 3 cups flour measurement is based on spooning flour into your measuring cup rather than scooping it. If you scoop the flour you'll like end up with more flour and may need more liquid than indicated in the recipe.

2. MILK: Depending on the size of your eggs and how you measure the flour (e.g., if you scoop it you'll likely use more flour than if you spoon or weigh it) you might need more or less of the liquid. I recommend pouring the liquid into the flour a little at a time. The dough will probably be a bit sticky when you turn it out to start kneading. If that's the case, add flour a sprinkle at a time as you knead it.

3. MIX-INS: I used dried currants in this recipe but you can use other kinds of dried fruit, nuts or even grated cheese and herbs. You can also make plain scones.

4. BAKING: If the top of your scones are nicely browned but they're not finished baking, place a sheet of foil on the top of the scones.

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Sharmini Poulin

Sunday 6th of June 2021

Great recipe! Turned out beautifully.

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Monday 7th of June 2021

I'm so glad you liked them!

gillian

Friday 16th of April 2021

Oh my these are amazing and simple to make. Made 2 batches one with raison and one without

Cynde

Friday 2nd of April 2021

These are fantastic but I have one little problem-I cannot seem to get the inside cooked without nearly burning the bottoms. At the allotted time - the inside is still nearly raw. After putting foil on top and cooking more, the bottoms are very brown and the inside is only barely cooked more. Suggestions?

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Friday 2nd of April 2021

Here are a few troubleshooting ideas...

1. Be sure you're turning the temp down to 425F/215C when you put your scones in the oven. 2. Are you using a regular-sized oven or a smaller top oven? I find that when I bake with my smaller top oven I have to lower the temp or bake for less time as compared to when I use my regular-sized oven. 3. Are you using a silicone mat (or a couple layers of parchment) on your baking pan? I get good results when I use either one. If you are, you could try doubling up so there's an extra layer between the pan and your scones. 4. What kind of baking pan are you using? Thin/dark pans can generate too much heat and over bake the bottoms. Try using a light colored stainless steel baking pan. If you already are, you could try placing one baking pan on a second pan (to help reduce the amount of heat that reaches the bottom of the scones). Or, if you have a baking stone, you could try baking the scones on that. 5. You could try moving your oven rack up a bit. 6. Do you have a thermometer in your oven so you can check the oven temp? Make sure it's not running hotter than you think. 7. You can also try turning the temp down a bit.

I hope that helps! :)

Katie

Monday 15th of February 2021

These are amazing! I’ve been to Britain once and have longed for traditional scones ever since. Today, I found them 😊

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Monday 15th of February 2021

I'm so glad you like them! :)

Sharron

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

These turned out lovely. The best scones recipe I’ve tried. Thank you for posting this recipe

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Monday 4th of January 2021

I'm so glad you liked them! :)

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