Mrs. McCarthy’s Award-Winning Strawberry Scones
I couldn’t believe that the producers of the Father Brown series haven’t made a cook book of Mrs. McCarthy’s favorite recipes including her “award-winning strawberry scones”.
According to the lore of the show the recipe was handed down from her grandmother who made them for King George IV when he visited Kilkenny Castle in 1826 (he didn’t). King Edward VII did however in 1904.
An alternative to the story is Sid’s assertion that Mrs. McCarthy stole the recipe from a Mrs. O’Boyle perhaps a truer version as the King story does have some holes in it !. What ever the truths be told, strawberry scones are a staple in the show.
I saw a number of sites that had mention of English Scones as a staple for this recipe, however since Mrs. McCarthy’s family came from Ireland a Irish scone would be more apropos.
Among the variables in the recipe, what is the topping on the strawberries, is it whipped cream, double cream or maybe clotted cream ?
Is it strawberry preserve or fresh strawberries, or a combination of both ?
This isn’t “THE Official” Mrs. McCarthy scone”, more a tongue in cheek title, I hope the producers of “Father Brown” find no offense. Going through many versions of scone recipes particularly of the “Irish” Version” I settled on a slightly enhanced version of my family scone recipe (see best Scottish Scones in recipe search). As this is a dessert scone we added slightly more sugar with a light sugar topping and increased the amount of baking powder which seem to be more in line with the Irish scone recipes that I found. Also most good Irish baking recipes of old, will use buttermilk instead of whole milk or cream and of course a fantastic Irish Butter.
The secret to a good scone is not to “overwork” the dough. Gently mix to incorporate all the ingredients then very gently knead only a few times, press out and gently roll and cut and cook.
Ingredients for Strawberry Scones
- ¾ cup of buttermilk
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 cups of flour
- 3 Tbs granulaed sugar
- 1 Tbs + 1 tsp Baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/3 cup Kerrygold Pure Irish butter = 5 1/3 Tbs cut to small cubes
- Extra flour for dusting table and roller.
- 1-2 Tbs granulated sugar for topping.
- 1 jar good strawberry preserves
- Fresh strawberries cored and cut into quarters
- Clotted Cream or Whipped cream
- 1 Tbs shortening for baking sheet
Directions for Strawberry Scones
Preheat oven to 425º.
In the bowl of a food processor with a pastry blade place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Pulse until you have a mixture the consistency of cornmeal.
Empty into a mixing bowl.
Place the buttermilk and egg into a measuring cup and beat the egg well, you should have approximately 1 cup of liquid, if not add a little more buttermilk. If more don’t worry the extra flour in the kneading process will take care of it.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix until all is combined.
Scrap out of bowl onto a well floured table and gently knead 5-6 times.
Gently roll out to a rectangle about ½ inch thick and using a round cookie cutter cut into rounds and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Take remaining dough and gently pull together and roll out and cut until all the dough is used.
Lightly sprinkle sugar on top of all the scones.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes until very lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and place the scones on a wire rack to cool.
Cut the scones in half and lightly spread some preserve on the bottom on each.
Cut the quartered strawberries into 2 or 3 elongated slices and place as many on top of the preserve in a single layer as will fit.
Take the Clotted Cream and lightly stir to loosen and place a large dollop on top of the strawberries, smooth out slightly and top with the scone top. If you can’t find Clotted Cream use lightly sweetened whipped cream that is whipped quite stiff,
The Scones and the Clotted Cream are to die for, not so sure about those red things, I would have perfered roast beef on them, still a 5 paw effort!
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