Here, recipes fit for a Queen (literally), including afternoon tea-worthy scones with vanilla and orange zest and the chocolate biscuit cake Prince William chose as his groom's cake for his wedding.
For 10 years, Carolyn Robb was the personal chef to TRH the Prince and Princess of Wales (that's Charles and Diana to us mere mortals), Prince William and Prince Harry.
Robb has just released The Royal Touch: Simply Stunning Home Cooking from a Royal Chef, a collection of 100 recipes – including afternoon tea-worthy Scones with Vanilla and Orange Zest and the Chocolate Biscuit Cake Prince William chose as his groom's cake for his wedding (both recipes here) – and anecdotes and letters from her residency at Kensington Palace.
"One of the abiding memories I have of the Queen's garden parties that I attended at Buckingham Palace is of the mountains of cream scones and cucumber sandwiches," says Robb. "Forever more, scones will be synonymous with garden parties for me." And who doesn't like a party?
Scones with Vanilla and Orange Zest (pictured above)
"This is my favourite recipe for scones, and my advice is to eat them fresh from the oven and never to stint on the cream and jam!"
YOU WILL NEED:
A 4-cm (1½-inch) pastry cutter and 2 flat baking trays
450 g/1 lb plain flour (3¾ cup)
60 g/2 oz golden caster sugar (¼ cup)
2.5 ml/½ tsp salt
15 ml/3 tsp baking powder
100 g/3½ oz butter (7 tbsp)
175 ml/¾ cup buttermilk
50 ml/¼ cup milk
1 free-range egg (UK medium/USA large)
5 ml/1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC / 425ºF.
- Sieve the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
- Rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your finger tips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Blend together the buttermilk, milk, egg and vanilla extract.
- Make a hollow in the centre of the 'crumbs', finely grate the orange zest into it and pour in most of the liquid. Add in the remainder later if the dough seems dry. Traditionally, a small round-bladed knife or palette knife is used to mix the dough. You want to achieve a lightly-bound dough that is neither sticky nor dry and crumbly.
- Lift the ball of dough onto a floured surface and knead it just 3 or 4 times to get rid of any cracks, working quickly. If the dough is over-worked it will result in 'tough' scones.
- Pat the dough out to a thickness of 2 cm (¾ inch). Cut out the scones, dipping the pastry cutter into flour each time, so that it makes a clean cut and does not drag the dough when cutting through it. Place scones onto the baking trays.
- Gather the trimmings, lightly bring them together and pat the dough out again to cut out more scones.
- Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until well risen and golden.
- For fruit scones, add in 60 g (⅓ cup) sultanas or raisins at Step 5. For savoury scones, replace the vanilla, orange zest and sugar with 60 g (½ cup) of grated mature cheddar cheese and 15 ml (1 tbsp) finely chopped chives, added in at Step 5; top with a little extra cheese and a light dusting of paprika.
Makes approximately 15 scones
NEXT: Chocolate Biscuit Cake
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