Postcards from the plot #1 *Lavender scones* Petworth House

When I was a little girl every time I went somewhere new I bought a postcard as a memento. I ended up with a huge collection. Every time I looked at the postcard I could see, hear and even smell and taste the place pictured.   I still buy postcards when we go to pastures new and these days my memories of places and special days are just as connected with sounds, tastes and smells.

Lavender scones to me mean a golden day strolling with friends round Petworth House in West Sussex. It was the first time I’d tasted them and was far more subtle than the lavender shortbread or lavender ice cream so much favoured by my aunts – which to a little girl tasted rather like soap. Whenever I bake a batch, spread one with butter and honey and take it outside to eat on the terrace I’m back in Petworth on a sunny day.

Here’s how…

  • 300g cups plain flour plus more for rolling out
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lavender flowers or 1 tsp dried buds
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 75g chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • I medium free range egg
  • 120ml buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat to 200°. Whizz together the flour, baking powder, salt, butter and sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (Or sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, rub in the butter and stir in the sugar).

Beat the egg, vanilla and buttermilk together. Add this to dry ingredients. Sprinkle in the lemon zest and lavender and stir until a shaggy dough forms.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead very briefly. Roll out to a thickness of 4cm. Use a 7cm pastry cutter cut out 8 scones. If you press straight down the scones will rise better.

Lay the discs on a greased baking sheet, brush with milk and bake for about 15 mins. A wooden cocktail stick should come out clean when they’re done.

Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes and serve spread with butter or honey. Lemon curd is also good.

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