Parmesan, Black Pepper and Thyme Scones

 

The general consensus about scones it would seem, is that they should be slathered with jam and accompanied with a cup of tea. Add a cake stand, teacups and a string of pearls and you are dangerously close to the twee notion of afternoon tea. Does anybody actually partake in this tradition who isn’t swathed in furs? Normally, if I am feeling somewhat peckish between lunch and dinner, my usually port of call is a black coffee and a kit kat. I don’t tend to turn to scones as a means of refuelling unless I’m expecting company, baking for a Flower Show or having a scone-off with my Mam (yes, this does happen).

Yet savoury scones are a lovely alternative to the sickly sweet, but are often an afterthought in the scone devouring world. Of course, a little sweet treat is nice now and again, but a punchy cheese scone with a cup of tea is more ‘working afternoon break’ than simpering ‘teacups and cake stands’. This is hardy fodder, but do not mistake strong flavours for rock hard buns; these scones are light, fluffy and best of all, require very little effort on the baker’s part. So much so, they can go from bowl to plate in well under half an hour. Now that’s what I call fast food.

These scones are an altogether more grown up version of the classic cheddar savoury scones. The saltiness of the parmesan marries perfectly with spicy pepper and the fragrant thyme gives little splashes of colour. Finished with a topping of parmesan, these little beauties bake into gorgeous puffs of flavour with a crisp hat, like little tiger loafs. These savoury treats are are perfect served with a steaming bowl of soup, stacked with cream cheese and ham or simply slathered with butter. So much so, I think I fancy another one…enjoy!

 

You Will Need

225g self raising flour

55g unsalted butter (Stork will work fine with this recipe, but butter does make for fluffier scones)

2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan, plus extra to top the scones

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

125ml milk, plus extra to brush the scones

Preheat the oven to 200oc/190oc fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease a baking tray with butter and set aside. In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the parmesan, pepper and thyme leaves until well mixed. Pour in the milk and mix with a round bladed knife and then your hand, to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1cm thickness. Cut 9 scones using a 2-3cm round cutter, rerolling scraps until all the dough has been used.

Arrange on the prepared baking tray and brush with milk. Sprinkle over a little parmesan and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack before serving. These scones are perfect with a lick of cream cheese and a scattering of honey ham as an afternoon treat, without a cake stand in sight!

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