Sweet sugar-crunch topping and soft crumbed scone loaded with tender orange-kissed dates. Oh, these are going to blow your scone-crazy little mind.
1 large orange 225g (8 oz- about 12) pitted dates 2 cups self-raising flour Large pinch of salt ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 2 Tbsp brown sugar 30g (2 Tbsp) butter 1 cup buttermilk, beaten with a fork until smooth Raw or demerara sugar for sprinkling
1 Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Finely grate zest from orange and set aside. Squeeze the juice. Put dates and orange juice (should be about ¼ cup of juice) in a dish and microwave for about 2 minutes (check after 1½ minutes) until dates are soft. Alternatively, cook very gently until tender in a saucepan. Cool.
2 Sift flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar together into a large bowl. Rub in butter with two knives or a pastry cutter. Add orange zest. Mix in buttermilk with a large fork. Add dates and all the juices and fork through, keeping dates in large pieces.
3 Tip dough onto a floured surface, gently pat into a round cake – it will be very soft and sticky so add a little more flour where necessary – and cut into 12 triangles with a floured knife.
4 Transfer scones to a cold baking sheet (tray) lined with baking (parchment) paper. Sprinkle with raw or demarara sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a cake rack to cool. Serve warmish with butter.
These just may be the best date scones you have ever had. They’re certainly mine! Buy fresh dates, not stone-hard ones left drying in food bins.
To keep scones soft, wrap in a clean tea-towel. To revive left-over scones, heat for 10 seconds in a microwave.
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