Irish Raisin Tea Scones

 

One of my fondest memories of Ireland is sitting down to an afternoon cup of tea and a hot buttered scone.  My mother makes delicious raisin tea scones, so when I lived in New York, I promptly tried to replicate her recipe, to impress my new husband.

What I produced were nothing like the soft, doughy textured scones of my childhood.

“Hockey pucks, with raisins,” are the words my husband carefully chose to describe my efforts.  To tell you the truth, he was right.  We are lucky we didn’t break our teeth trying to bite into the toughly-crusted kernels of dough, which emerged from my oven.

And so, I put my recipe away, together with my dreams of baking hot, delicious scones for all my New York area friends.  I only resurrected my old recipe a few years ago, upon moving to Kentucky.

The secret to scone success, I discovered, is all in the flour.  Forget about regular all-purpose American flour.  It does not suit this purpose at all, at all.  I learned that Irish wheat has a much softer husk, than American wheat.  The closest to soft, Irish flour, that can be found on this side of the Atlantic, is cake flour.

Upon this discovery I started making scones once again, made some minor changes to my mother’s recipe, and created a great American alternative.

These tea scones are not made with baking soda and buttermilk.  The raising agent used is baking powder with regular milk.  This may not be the most well-known recipe for Irish scones, but let me assure you, my mother has been using it for the past fifty years, and we love them.

Ingredients:

4 cups of cake flour*

3 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

4 oz or 1 stick of butter

1/2 cup of sugar**

3/4 cup of golden raisins

3/4 cup of regular raisins

2 eggs

3/4 cup of milk

1 egg and a drop of milk for egg wash

sprinkling of sugar for the top

* Note:  If you wish to make a somewhat healthier version of this recipe I recommend using 2 cups of cake flour and 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour.

** When reviewing this recipe I noticed I originally wrote 1 cup instead of a 1/2 cup of sugar. Oh my! What sweet scones! I always use a half cup of sugar, so I apologize for this error. For anyone who used the recipe as I originally published it, I hope your scones were sweetly delicious with all that extra sugar.

Here are the main tools of the scone baking trade.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.  I like to use a sifter.  I never think a whisk, breaks down flour clumps as finely as a sifter.

Cut the butter into small pieces, then rub into the flour using a dough blender.  Or just do what I do, rub the butter and flour between your hands and fingers.

Blend the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  I use both hands to do this, but my right hand was in use taking the shot. So just imagine how it is done.

Add 1 cup of sugar and mix.

Add both kinds of raisins and mix well, making certain to break up any clumps of raisins.

Beat the eggs and milk together.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the liquid.  Reserve a little to add only if the dough is too dry.

Mix with a large spoon or your hand to pull the flour and milky eggs together into a soft-but-not-too-sticky dough.  Add some extra flour if the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Sprinkle with a little more flour. Regular all-purpose flour is alright at this stage of the scone making game.  Knead the dough lightly.  Do not overwork this mixture since it does not contain any yeast.  Too much handling will only make the scones hard.

Flatten to a round about an inch-and-a-half high.  This can be done with your hands or by lightly rolling out the dough.  Don’t over roll this dough.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut out round shapes.  A cup or a glass will work just as well.  Place the scones on a greased baking tray.

Brush the top of the scones with an eggwash (one beaten egg with a little drop of milk).  Then sprinkle the top with a little sugar.

Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Then reduce the heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven when the tops are turning a lovely golden color.  After about 25 minutes total cooking time, I usually check the undersides are not burning.  When scones are cooked they sound hollow when their bottoms are lightly tapped.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Don’t let them sit in the baking tray, since this can make the bottoms soggy.

Make a nice cup of tea.  Enjoy your tea scones, slathered in creamy butter, or spread with jelly or jam.  Perhaps, you can try some clotted cream and jam, to give them an English twist.

Happy baking and enjoy.

Here is the recipe in printable format.

Irish Tea Scones

Serves 15
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Bread
Region Irish
Irish tea scones are delicious raisin biscuits served with tea, and spread with butter and jam.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Cake Flour (2 cups of cake flour and 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour can be used)
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cups Golden Raisins
  • 3/4 cups Raisins
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 cups Milk
  • 1 Egg (mix with a drop of milk for egg wash)
  • Sugar (to sprinkle on top of unbaked scones)

Directions

Step 1 Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
Step 2 Cut the butter into small pieces, then rub into the flour using a dough blender, or rub the butter and flour between your hands and fingers. Blend the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Step 3 Add one cup of sugar and mix.
Step 4 Add both kinds of raisins and mix well, making certain to break up any clumps of raisins.
Step 5 Beat the eggs and milk together. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the liquid. Reserve a little to add only if the dough is too dry.
Step 6 Mix with a large spoon or your hand to pull the flour and milky eggs together into a soft-but-not-too-sticky dough. Add some extra flour if the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Step 7 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with a little more flour. Knead the dough lightly.
Step 8 Flatten to a round about an inch-and-a-half high. This can be done with your hands or by lightly rolling out the dough.
Step 9 Use a biscuit cutter to cut out round shapes. Place the scones on a greased baking tray.
Step 10 Brush the top of the scones with an eggwash (one beaten egg with a little drop of milk). Then sprinkle the top with a little sugar.
Step 11 Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when the tops are turning a lovely golden color.
Step 12 Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Step 13 To serve: Cut the scones in two and spread each side with butter and/or jam or jelly.

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Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the comment. My mother is from Donegal and my father is from Sligo so of course I think your blog is great! I have to try this recipe. I’ve never found a scone recipe that I made twice.

    peace,
    amy

    • Donegal and Sligo are beautiful counties. My husband is a Donegal man, so we spend a lot of time there whenever we make it home to Ireland on vacation. I hope you will enjoy these scones, so much so that you might even make them again. I think the key will be using cake flour not all-purpose flour. All the best!

  2. I’ve just made these scones. Thank you for the recipe

  3. I just ate one of your Scone’s hot from the oven, with butter, jam,creme. Reminds me of the Rock Cafe near Lahinch! Awesome….

    • Cindy – I am delighted to hear my scones reminded you of authentic Irish scones. They really are best out of the oven with butter melting on them. Hope you had a lovely St. Patrick’s Day.
      Mairéad

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  5. I’m definitely going to try to make these. They look amazing! Have you ever tried substituting blueberries or currants for the raisins? I like raisins in soda bread, but I’ve never tried them in scones. Either way, I’m sure they’ll be great!

    • Sophie – I’ve made them with dried blueberries and they’ve turned out great. They are far denser than an American buttermilk biscuit, but a typical Irish treat to go along with a cup of tea.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  6. Can’t wait to try them. We have friends in County Kildare who we visit and Helen is always make some kind of treats for us. Since they have milking cows it probably helps with the taste.

    • Dave – Fresh, creamy milk really helps when baking scones. I hope you enjoy this recipe. They’re different to American biscuits – more dense than fluffy, but these are the scones I grew up on.
      Best wishes,
      Mairéad

  7. I made these this past weekeknd. So delicious!! They brought back fond memories from my trip to Ireland a few years ago. We would stop in a bakery whereever we were in the late afternoon for a scone to tide us over until dinner. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Diane – I’m so glad this recipe brought back tasty memories of your trip to Ireland. A cuppa tea and a scone is one of my favorite afternoon snacks whenever I am home in Ireland.
      Thanks for taking the time to leave such wonderful feedback.
      Best wishes,
      Mairéad

  8. Hello!

    I just wanted to send you a message to follow up and let you know how my next few batches of scones came out. I had emailed you last week about the dough being too wet. I followed your suggetions and added the liquid gradually…it worked perfectly! And you were right it seems in thinking the humidity may have something to do with it. One day the dough was “text book” and the next , with the same amount of liquid slightly on the wet side but I have learned how to manage it. Anyway, the scones are AMAZING!! Everyone LOVES them and they are comparing them to bakery bought!! Yay me!! And you !!! And I am not even someone who has really ever baked before!! Thank you for an awesome and EASY receipe! I will never have to buy scones again…’cause I now make the best!!! : )

    • Hi Michelle – I’m delighted to hear your scone making success story. What a wonderful feeling to be able to master scone dough, and to know your family and friends LOVE your scones. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. In another scone post I outlined some more tips for scone making success. Here’s the link:
      http://www.irishamericanmom.com/2014/06/21/blueberry-scones/
      Wishing you very happy scone making, and judging by your fantastic results you’re going to be a busy baker.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  9. I’ve just make this recipe last Saturday. Everyone enjoys it! I bake it again.

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