Crowned cream tea (rich vanilla scones and tiny meringue crowns)

cowned cream tea

I dreamt this up after I saw lots of news items referring to national cream tea day. I laughed when I saw that – no, not because it’s bizarre to have a day dedicated to scones, cream and jam but because why on earth would the British need a day for it?

It’s practically a national pastime.

Notes

Take your time over piping the meringues and they can be pretty close together as they will hardly spread at all.

Equipment
  • A couple of baking trays, lined  – you’ll need them both for the meringues and the scones
  • Bowls
  • Piping bag and medium round nozzle (about 3mm)
  • Electric whisk or stand mixer
  • Round cutter
  • Pastry brush
Ingredients – meringue
  • Egg whites, 3 (from medium-sized eggs)
  • Caster sugar – 175g
  • Vanilla bean paste  – 1/2 teaspoon (or seeds from half a vanilla pod)
Ingredients – scones
  • Plain flour – 300g
  • Unsalted butter – 80g
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Caster sugar – 50g
  • Egg, 1 medium-sized
  • Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Double (thick) cream – 110ml
  • Plus, a little milk and caster sugar for brushing and dusting
Ingredients – additional
  • A good soft strawberry jam
  • Cornish clotted cream, or failing that a whipped double cream
Method – meringues
  1. See my tips on making meringues to ensure you’ve got the best possible chance of getting right every time
  2. Put the oven on to 100C
  3. Have the two baking trays prepared and ready
  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff
  5. While still whisking, gradually and slowly pour all the cast sugar in and ensure the whites are mixed to stiff peaks
  6. Add in the vanilla and whisk just enough to spread it evenly throughout the egg whites
  7. Prepare the piping bag with medium round nozzle and spoon in as much of the meringue as you can fit
  8. Pipe small drops of meringue (about 1cm / half an inch base) and draw the bag up and away as you stop piping to create a little droplet shape
  9. Continue to pipe meringue ‘dots’ until you run out of meringue – this amount will fill up two baking trays and make about 80 teensy-tiny meringue dropsIMG_0472
  10. Pop in the oven and bake for 50 minutes
  11. Leave to cool on the trays
Method – scones
  1. Set the oven to 200C
  2. Prepare a baking tray with paper or silicon sheet
  3. Rub in the butter, flour and sugar until it’s crumbly and combined (ie no butter lumps)
  4. Mix in everything else and bring together
  5. Don’t overwork – ie it doesn’t need kneading
  6. Roll out to about 4cm thick and press out the rounds with the cutter
  7. You should get 7 – 8 scones, depending on the size of the cutter you are using
  8. Don’t twist the cutter – plunge it straight in and lift straight off. Twisting will cause the scones to rise unevenly
  9. Lift the scones on to the baking sheet and space evenly apart
  10. Brush the tops with a little milk and then sprinkle a little caster sugar over the tops of each of them
  11. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes
  12. Leave to cool
Construction
  1. Cut the scones in half (a serrated bread knife is easiest)
  2. On each half pile the strawberry jam and a dollop of cream (if you’re Cornish this means jam first then cream, if you’re Devonian this means cream first and then jam. Did I say we were obsessed as a nation?!)
  3. Take five of the mini meringues per scone half and arrange on top
  4. Enjoy

creamteacrown2

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