I first wrote about these date scones yonks ago. This was back when I had an iPhone 4 as a camera and long before having an eclectic and staged array of objects in the frame was fashionable. Recently I've made it my mission to write a cookbook and whilst my new images are no where near suitable it forces me to double check the recipes that I hold most dear. It also means Dylan's work gets a lot of morning tea.
Ironically I was hoping these would be at least somewhat photogenic but they turned out to be the world's ugliest scones. I have no idea why they look the way they do. I messaged Dylan whinging about how terrible they looked only to have him respond "aren't they supposed to be ugly?".
Looking at the photos of the scones in the tray they remind me of when you slice up a mango half in the skin and then flick it inside out.
There are definitely better scone recipes out there in the world. Scones made with butter rubbed into them are always delicious. Some people fuss around with yoghurt or buttermilk and all sorts to get that perfect texture. The great thing about these ones though is that they require very little skill and very little handling to get them into the oven. When it comes to whipping up a big batch of something in no time at all these are the go to.
Instead of butter and milk these scones are made using equal parts cream and soda water. The cream acts as the delicious fat source and the soda water helps provide some lift when it mixes with the baking powder. Because the liquids are added in equal proportion to each other you can realistically tailor this recipe to suit your numbers (or bowl size).
I think these are best just served with a good slathering of salty butter whilst they are still warm but I mean if you are a jam and cream kinda person then be my guest.
Soda Water Date Scones
6 cups plain flour
3 tablespoons (20ml tablespoons) of baking powder
1/2 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt
400g dates, roughly chopped
Juice and zest of two oranges
Up to 1 1/2 cups cream
Up to 1 1/2 cups soda water
Milk or cream to pat
Sugar to sprinkle
Butter to serve
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius on bake and line a tray with baking paper.
Sieve together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the largest mixing bowl that you have. Mix through the orange zest too.
Place your chopped up dates in a microwave safe bowl and squeeze over the orange juice. Pop the dates in the microwave for two minutes to soften them in all that delicious juice. Drain the juice but keep it to one side.
Toss the dates through the dry ingredients making sure they are evenly dispersed. Next measure out a cup of cream and a cup of soda water and add it to the dry ingredients along with the reserved date juice. Using a large metal spoon gently stir to bring the dough together. Add equal portions of the cream and soda water until you have a single mass that isn't too wet but also doesn't have huge pockets of dry flour either. Don't worry if there are still small patches of flour in the dough they will work themselves out in the oven; It is more important you don't overhandle the dough.
Tip the dough onto a floured bench and press it into a rectangular shape keeping it about 3cm thick. Cut the dough into 16 squares (or less if you want heftier scones). Transfer the squares to your baking tray keeping them nice and close together no more than 1cm apart; This will help keep them moist. Pat each scone to be with some milk or leftover cream and then sprinkle over a light dusting of sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes. If you are unsure if yours are done you can look between two of the centre scones and see if the dough connecting them together is cooked. If it still looks a bit squishy then pop them in the oven for another two minutes.
Serve up fresh from the oven with a good slathering of butter.