Our World War 1 Heritage Lottery Fund project is gathering pace with the input of lots of fantastic volunteers who are scouring digitised copies of local papers from the period. They are looking for interesting articles, pictures and advertisements as well as soldiers’ obituaries and photographs. As you will appreciate, a lot of the information that is being extracted reflects the devastating nature of the War but in amongst there are lighter articles detailing aspects of daily life. One of our helpers found ‘TO-DAYS RECIPE’ for ‘Dainty Little Scones’ in the Ramsbottom Observer on the 31st July 1915. How could I resist having a go at recreating these little lovelies for you to see – and me to eat!?
DAINTY LITTLE SCONES.
One pound of flour, two tablespoons of sugar, one heaped teaspoon of cream of tartar, half teaspoonful of baking soda, quarter pound of butter or lard, one egg, a breakfast cup full of new milk. Stir quickly in one direction until the dough is a nice soft mass. Turn on to a floured board and roll out lightly quarter of an inch thick. Cut in small rounds, brush over with sweet milk, to which is added a little sugar. Bake in rather a quick oven until pale brown. When cold split open and butter.
Even though I am a fairly keen baker the recipe did require a little research on my part to make it accessible for the modern day cook. In particular, what could I substitute for cream of tartar when my local shop had none? How much milk was ‘a breakfast cup full’? And what the heck was a ‘rather quick oven’? All I can say is thank goodness for the internet! Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar – phew! I have some of that, and ‘a breakfast cup full’ is 10 fluid ounces or half a pint. I had no luck pinning the oven temperature down so I’m assuming ‘rather quick’ means hot. I have used a modern recipe to keep me straight, 220 °C, thanks Mary Berry!
The next dilemma was that I just couldn’t see how I could incorporate all of the wet and dry ingredients, and the fat, at the same time. ‘Stir quickly in one direction’ just wouldn’t work unless you had super-human blending abilities or employed kitchen gadgetry that definitely wasn’t from the period! Had they missed out the instruction (or presumed everyone knew) to rub the fat into the flour before adding the wet ingredients? I decided to stick with Mrs Berry’s advice to ensure a good result! I did however stray from modern-day thinking and decided to see how the scones turned out using lard.
As you can see the finished results looked the part and I’m happy to report my chief tasters gave them ‘the thumbs up’ after school!