Scones with Strawberry and Basil Jam

I really love June in England as it finally feels like Summer is on its way. Even if the weather is miserable, we still glam up for Royal Ascot and camp in the rain for Wimbledon. We Brits are a hardy lot, even National Picnic Week is in June.

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Here's a fun recipe to celebrate the start of Wimbledon which is today - Hooray! Enjoy these Scones with Strawberry and Basil Jam with a cup of tea, or a Pimms, warm and cosy with a front row seat of the tennis from your sofa. It's basically a cream tea with a herby make over, and it works! Basil adds freshness and depth to sweet fruity strawberry jam. 

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If you've not tried making jam from scratch before definitely give this recipe a try as it's a really easy one to start with. There's hardly any preparation involved and it's so easy to make. Watch this video of me making blackberry jam for more hints and tips.

Scones are nothing to be scared of either - just don't over mix and over handle the dough as it will make the scones tough. Dip the cutter in flour before cutting and push then lift it out of the dough instead of twisting it to help the scones rise nicely.

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Scones with Strawberry and Basil Jam: Makes 14-16 scones and 200g jam:

Time:  15 mins prep + 20 mins baking & cooking

Cost:  11p for one scone with jam*

Calories:  156 calories for one scone with jam*

*based on a batch of 16 scones with 2 teaspoons of jam

For the strawberry and basil jam:

  • 200g ripe strawberries, hulled and rinsed
  • 135g white sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Basil or finely chopped fresh

For the scones:

  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 75g butter, cut into cubes
  • 40g caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of a lemon (optional)
  • 150ml milk (skimmed is fine, I use it)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Milk or a beaten egg to glaze (optional)

To serve:

  • Clotted cream or butter (if you like)
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Pot of tea or jug of Pimms

To make the strawberry and basil jam:

  1. Place the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan and mash roughly with a potato masher. You can mash half the strawberries and keep some whole if you prefer some texture to the jam. Stir everything over a low heat until the strawberries release their juices and the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Turn up the heat and boil the jam vigorously for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. You can check if the jam has set by doing the 'saucer test' which you can see demonstrated in this video. Turn off the heat, stir though the basil, and leave to cool completely. If you find the jam is too thin when cooled, don't worry, just boil it again vigorously for another 2 minutes.

To make the scones:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas mark 7 / 220 C / 200 C fan. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Sieve the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour quickly and lightly. Stir though the sugar and lemon zest if using. Finally, add the milk and lemon juice and stir, using a blunt knife, to make a sticky dough. Do not over mix the dough.
  3. On a floured surface roll the dough 2 cm thick and cut out as many scones as you can using a 6 cm round cutter. Do not twist the cutter as this will prevent the scones from rising as well. Roll up the scraps and repeat. Handle the dough as little as possible. You should be able to make around 14 - 16 scones.
  4. Place the scones on the baking sheet and brush with a little milk or egg to make them shiny if you like. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool and serve with the strawberry and basil jam, clotted cream and fresh strawberries if you like.

What goes on your scone first? The cream or the jam?

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