Thursday 1 February 2018

How to make Perfect Drop Scones or American Pancakes for Tea or Breakfast

Drop SconesThese are always popular at any time of year but make lots, as they'll disappear as you make them.  You might like to dust off your pancake pan and give these drop scones (or American Pancakes) a try. 
I learnt how to make these at an early age and they've been a family favourite ever since.  The recipe came from The Constance Spry Cookery Book which was the main staple in my mother’s kitchen, and from it came the recipe for gloriously delicious, quick and easy Drop Scones, also known as Scottish pancakes.  If you haven’t tried these you should, they’re wonderful for tea time (or any time) and children adore them.  Try them and make loads, or you’ll be standing by your hob or Aga for hours after you want to sit down and eat them too.

These are not what we call scones, but are like slightly puffy small pancakes (they're also known as American Pancakes), and you should eat them immediately with butter and, if you want, honey or jam, although you won’t usually have time to apply anything other than butter.
The Constance Spry Cookery Book If you're of a US frame of mind you'll probably want to drizzle them with syrup and very crispy bacon and have them for breakfast.  
Accessories to be at the ready:
A wire cooling rack to slip your scones on to as they come out of the pan
A good palette knife
Plenty of room temperature butter
A clean tea towel to cover the scones to keep them warm
a flat pancake (or crepe) pan,  or the hot plate of an Aga – note if you’re making these on an Aga you will probably need to move over to the simmering plate as the pan can get too hot otherwise.

You’ll need the following ingredients:
½lb plain flour
½ tbsp each bicarbonate of soda,
cream of tartar, baking powder
1 tbsp golden syrup
nut of butter
1 tbs of sugar
1 egg
½ pint milk 
Mix all the dry ingredients and then add the butter, syrup and milk until you have a smooth mixture.  I usually use an electric hand whisk such as this by Dualit, or if for a lot of people, my classic everlasting Kenwood Chef.

Get your pan hot, put a tiny bit of butter on your palette knife and rub the pan with it (I often use kitchen towel as well to do this)  and as soon as it’s sizzling drop three of four spoonfulls of mixture onto the pan.  As soon as you see bubbles on the top flip each one over, wait about 30 seconds and then move to the wire rack.

You’ll find you’ll need to adjust the heat as you go, you can tell if you’ve got too hot if the drop scones turn darker than the caramel colour they should be. 

Beware the kids standing around you, you’ll find your drop scones being snitched before you’re ready.  I advise you to make at least double the mixture for a crowd.

Here’s an article in the Chicago Tribune celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee with recipes chronicling her reign, and containing a quote from a letter of Jan 24 1960 to President Dwight D Eisenhower – it reads:
"Dear Mr. President, Seeing a picture of you in today's newspaper standing in front of a barbecue grilling quail, reminded me that I had never sent you the recipe of the drop scones which I promised you at Balmoral. I now hasten to do so, and I do hope you find them successful. Though the quantities are for 16 people, when there are fewer, I generally put in less flour and milk, but use the other ingredients as stated. I have also tried using golden syrup or Treacle instead of only sugar and that can be very good, too. I think the mixture needs a great deal of beating while making, and shouldn't stand about too long before cooking. …"

So a little bit of history along with your Scotch pancakes…..enjoy.  And they never do stand around for very long….

PS.  I’m delighted to see that a new edition of this exceptional cookery bible, originally published in 1956, was published in 2011.  It has so many marvellous classic recipes contained in it, so you can now buy yourself a copy as well.  The Constance Spry Cookery Book by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume.

The drop scones picture above was taken from a Metro article about making pancakes – you can read it here in full.