175 g unbleached plain flour
2 and ¼ tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
25 g cold butter, small dice
75 g strong cheddar cheese
50 ml buttermilk (or dairy or non-dairy milk with a little lemon juice added)
1 tsp grain mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrin’s for preference)
½ raw or cooked small beetroot finely grated
extra flour for rolling surface
a little milk for brushing on the scones (optional)
Preheat oven to 220 (200C fan). Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips, but preferably with a pastry cutter, until it’s evenly ‘crumbly’.
Mix in the cheese. In a small bowl or jug, stir together the buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and beetroot shreds. Gradually add the wet mixture to the flour, stirring with a knife, until you achieve a soft dough and a ‘clean’ bowl. If there is quite a lot of flour that refuses to amalgamate, add a tablespoon more buttermilk. Resist the temptation to handle it with warm hands or you will get tough scones.
Plop the dough onto a floured surface and gently and not too precisely pat out the dough to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) or a bit deeper. Flour a 2 ½ inch (6 cm) scone cutter and cut out 5-7 scones (depending on the depth of dough and size of cutter). Place the scones on a well-oiled baking sheet, and brush the tops with milk. Bake on a high shelf for 15-20 minutes until the scones are well-risen and very golden.
Pierce a scone with a toothpick and, if it comes out clean, it is done. Cool briefly on a wire rack (don’t leave on the baking sheet or they will get soggy bottoms). Serve warm with lots of salted butter. These scones are also brilliant with nearly any soup.