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Scones

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Scones

For other uses, see Scone (disambiguation).

A scone is a single-serving cake or quick bread. They are usually made of wheat, barley or oatmeal, with baking powder as a leavening agent, and are baked on sheet pans. They are often lightly sweetened and are occasionally glazed. The scone is a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. It differs from a teacake and other sweet buns, which are made with yeast. A scone is not a type of pastry.

Lexicology

The pronunciation of the word within the United Kingdom varies. According to one academic study, two-thirds of the British population pronounce it /ˈskɒn/ with the preference rising to 99% in the Scottish population. This is also the pronunciation of Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders. Other regions, particularly the United States and Ireland, pronounce the word as /ˈskn/. The pronunciation /ˈskʊn/ is also used, particularly in Ireland. British dictionaries usually show the "con" form as the preferred pronunciation, while recognising that the "cone" form also exists.[1]

The difference in pronunciation is alluded to in the poem which contains the lines:

I asked the maid in dulcet tone
To order me a buttered scone
The silly girl has been and gone
And ordered me a buttered scone.

The Oxford English Dictionary reports that the first mention of the word was in 1513. Origin of the word scone is obscure and may, in fact, derive from different sources. That is, the classic Scottish scone which, according to Sheila MacNiven Cameron in The Highlander's Cookbook, originated as a bannock cut into pieces; and the Dutch schoonbrood or "spoonbread" (very similar to the drop scone); and possibly other, similar and similarly named quick breads, may have made their way onto the British tea table, where their similar names merged into one.

Thus, scone may derive from the Middle Dutch schoonbrood (fine white bread), from schoon (pure, clean) and brood (bread).[2] And/or it may also derive from the Scots Gaelic term sgonn meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful. The Middle Low German term Schönbrot meaning fine bread may also have played a role in the origination of this word. And if the mythology put forward by Sheila MacNiven Cameron be true, the word may also be based on the town of Scone, Scotland, the ancient capital of that country – where Scottish monarchs were still crowned even after the capital was moved to Perth, then to Edinburgh; on whose Scone Stone the monarchs of Great Britain and the United Kingdom are still crowned today.[3]

History

The original scone was round and flat, usually the size of a medium size plate. It was made with unleavened oats and baked on a griddle (or girdle, in Scots), then cut into triangle-like quadrants for serving. Today, many would call the large round cake a bannock, and call the quadrants scones. In Scotland, the words are often used interchangeably.[4]

When baking powder became available to the masses, scones began to be the oven-baked, well-leavened items we know today.[5] Modern scones are widely available in British and Irish bakeries, grocery stores, and supermarkets. A 2005 market report estimated the UK scone market to be worth £64m, showing a 9% increase over the previous five years. The increase is partly due to an increasing consumer preference for impulse and convenience foods.[6]

Scones sold commercially are usually round, although some brands are hexagonal as this shape may be tessellated for space efficiency. When prepared at home, they take various shapes including triangles, rounds and squares.[7][8] Baking scones at home is often closely tied to heritage baking. They tend to be made from family recipes rather than recipe books, since it is often a family member who holds the "best" and most-treasured recipe.[9]

Varieties



British scones are often lightly sweetened, but may also be savoury. They frequently include raisins, currants, cheese or dates. In Scotland and Ulster, savoury varieties of scone include soda scones, also known as soda farls, and potato scones, normally known as tattie scones, which resemble small, thin savoury pancakes made with potato flour. Potato scones are most commonly served fried in a full Scottish breakfast or an Ulster fry.

The griddle scone (or "girdle scone" in Scots) is a variety of scone which is fried rather than baked. This usage is also common in New Zealand where scones, of all varieties, form an important part of the traditional cuisine.

Other common varieties include the dropped scone, or drop scone, like a pancake, after the method of dropping the batter onto the griddle or frying pan to cook it, and the lemonade scone, which is made with lemonade and cream instead of butter and milk.

Also, there is the fruit scone or fruited scone, which contains currants, sultanas, peel and glace cherries, which is just like a plain round scone with the fruit kneaded into the dough.

In some countries one may also encounter savoury varieties of scone which may contain or be topped with combinations of cheese, onion, bacon, etc.

Regional variations

Europe

Scones were chosen as the Republic of Ireland representative for Café Europe during the Austrian Presidency of the European Union in 2006 while the United Kingdom chose shortbread.

In Hungary, a pastry very similar to the British version exists under the name "pogácsa". The name has been adopted by several neighbouring nations' languages. (E.g. Pogatsche in German.) Pogácsa is almost always savoury and served with varied seasonings and toppings: like dill and cheese.

Australia

Pumpkin scones, made by adding mashed cooked pumpkin to the dough mixture, had increased exposure during the period when Florence Bjelke-Petersen was in the public eye.[10] Date scones, which contain chopped dried dates, can also be found in Australia. Another old style of cooking scones, generally in the colder months, is to deep-fry or deep pan-fry them in dripping or oil, called "puftaloons".

Americas

Round-shaped British scones can resemble North American biscuits in appearance, but scones rely on cold butter, while biscuits are more often made with animal fat or vegetable shortening.[9] Also, while scones are frequently (but not always) sweet, and served with coffee and tea, biscuits are served more as a bread, often with breakfast.

In recent years, scones under that name have begun to appear in coffee houses. They are universally sweet, often containing fruit such as blueberries or raspberries, or else such flavorings as cinnamon.

In Utah, the bread products locally called "scones" are similar to Native American frybread and are made from a sweet yeast dough, with buttermilk and baking powder and/or soda added, and they are fried rather than baked. They are customarily served with butter and either honey or maple syrup.[11]

Scones are quite popular in Argentina as well as Uruguay. They were brought there by Irish, English and Scottish immigrants and from Welsh immigrants in Patagonia; Britons are the third largest foreign community in Argentina.[12] They are usually accompanied by tea, coffee or mate.[13]

Other usage

In Scots the verb scon means to crush flat or beat with the open hand on a flat surface, and "scon-cap" or "scone-cap" refers to a man's broad flat cap or "bunnet".

See also

References

Template:British breadhu:Pogácsa
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