7 In Bread & Pastries/ Great Britain & Ireland/ Recipes

Best British Currant Scones

Would you believe that I never liked scones until I visited the UK, and promptly fell deeply in love with current scones with 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 (with a big cup of tea). Now that I’ve learned how to make them at home, I can enjoy them anytime! 

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, British scones often don’t include the mix-ins that are commonly found in 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?). You probably can find other types of scones, but whenever I’ve had my choice of scones it’s always been plain or currant. (I always choose currant scones).

I 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 in a triangle shape. 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!

These scones are always a hit, with and without clotted cream. They’re perfect for all kinds of occasions, such as:

  • tea parties 
  • office parties 
  • 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 or lemon curd. Make each a few days in advance and the scones on the day you want to serve them. 

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.  

How to Make the Best British Currant Scones

scones-steps

Best British Scones with Currents

Best British Scones with Currents

Yield: 12 scones

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 flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp butter, (unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup whole milk, (or cream)
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 500 F. 
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Cut 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 and mix until combined. 
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined into a ball. 
  6. Knead dough 25-30 times on well-floured surface with well-floured hands until the surface of the dough is smooth and doesn't have any cracks. 
  7. Flour your rolling pin and then roll out dough to 1 inch thickness. Cut out scones using a round biscuit cutter (I used a small jam jar to cut mine before I got a biscuit cutter). Transfer scones to a lined baking sheet. Gather remaining dough into a ball, knead a few times, then roll it out to 1 inch thickness. Cut out the rest of your scones and transfer to the baking sheet. 
  8. Brush the top of the scones using what's left of the milk and egg mixture. Turn down the oven to 425 F. Bake scones for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter, clotted cream, whipped cream, lemon curd or jam. Enjoy!

7 Comments

  • Reply
    Alexis
    December 2, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    5 stars
    Those look SO good! I love the feeling of travel I get when I read your recipes….

  • Reply
    Cate
    December 4, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Thanks, Alexis! 🙂 These scones are amazing. I want to make them every morning…

  • Reply
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com
    January 3, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Cate, lovely scones! But I make wedge-shaped scones just as my mother, grandmother, great grandmothers (generations of English women) made them in England. I think when people here get there scones at a place like Starbucks, it’s no wonder they don’t like them as they’re made way ahead. As you rightly mention, they are best the day they are made.

  • Reply
    Cate
    January 4, 2017 at 1:14 am

    That’s so interesting, Jean! I’ve never seen them wedge-shaped in the UK, and I’ve never seen round ones in the US. Is the wedge shape more traditional? It’s sure a lot easier!

  • Reply
    Devony
    August 6, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Are they really supposed to bake at 500°F?

    • Reply
      Devony
      August 6, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      Goodness, I didn’t read all the way through. Sorry! I’m excited to try these! I don’t like American scones either but love British ones.

      • Reply
        Cate
        August 7, 2019 at 8:52 pm

        They’re so good! I hope you love them, too! 🙂

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