Perfect Scones
From the Kitchen of Mary Lydon
Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland

3 Cups Self-Rising Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
Pinch of Sea Salt
1 Stick plus 1 Tablespoon Butter, softened
3 Tablespoons Castor (Superfine) Sugar, plus 2 Teaspoons to dust
3/4 Cup Sultanas or Raisins
3 Large Eggs
1 Cup Ice-Cold Milk, extra to glaze

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl. Add the butter in little pieces and rub it in using the tips of your fingers and lifting the flour up high to aerate it. When the butter is incorporated the mixture should look like fine bread crumbs. Sir in the sugar, then sultanas.

In another bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Pour 3/4 of wet mixture into the flour mixture and quickly mix together with a large table knife, adding extra wet mixture as necessary to give a soft but not sticky dough. Do not over-mix; the quicker and lighter the mixing, the higher your scones will rise.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and very gently roll with a rolling pin or pat out with your fingers to 3/4 - 1 inch thickness. Using a 2-1/2 or 3 inch biscuit cutter, press out as many rounds as you can, gently reshaping the trimmings to cut out a couple more if you can.

Place the scones on the lined baking sheet, brush the tops with milk and lightly sprinkle with extra sugar. Bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes until risen and golden brown.

To check if the scones are ready, light squeeze the sides of one; the dough should be springy. Place on wire rack and eat while warm, split and buttered, with or without clotted cream or jam.

Yield: 12 to 15 scones

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