Today is what would have been Marguerite Patten’s 100th birthday. In case you haven’t heard of her she was one of the first celebrity chefs, the Mary Berry of the 1940s and 50s, who died in June just five months short of her milestone birthday.
Marguerite Patten featured throughout my childhood, so to mark her special day I’m taking part in #Marguerite100, a cookalong in which everyone is invited to create their favourite Marguerite recipe or meal and share it through social media.
As a child I learnt to bake with the help of Marguerite’s 1960s ‘Cookery in Colour’ (in which most of the pages are in fact orange, and the book is undoubtedly the reason I measure everything in imperial instead of metric) and my absolute favourite recipe was, and still is, for rich scones.
Here I am making them with my brother in the early 1980s, and I followed the same recipe to the letter in order to pass my Brownies ‘cook’ badge several years later.
When I was 17 my mum spotted a copy of the recipe book in a charity shop and bought it for me, and I now use it with BB to make – you guessed it – scones. I love how the spine is battered and the pages are spotted with spilt ingredients from previous, decades old bakes.
Anyway, I digress. Onto the scones. This recipe is classic, timeless, and without a doubt the best English scone recipe ever:
8oz self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon of baking powder
A good pinch of salt
2oz butter or ‘luxury margarine’
½ oz – 1oz of sugar (I add 2oz raisins to the recipe so I only use ½ oz of sugar)
1 egg (beaten)
¼ pint milk
Optional extra: 2oz of raisins to turn them into fruit scones
Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter (this is my favourite bit – I LOVE the smell and the feel of the flour in your hands).
Add the sugar, beaten egg and fruit if using, then mix in the milk until you have a sticky dough.
Turn the mixture onto a floured worktop and knead. Then roll the dough out so it’s about half an inch to an inch thick.
Cut out the scones with a cutter or top of a glass, then brush with milk and bake at 220 degrees (gas mark 7) for 12-15 minutes.
Et voila! Absolutely delicious…
In memory of Marguerite Patten
4 November 1915 – 4 June 2015
If you’d like to take part in the cookalong it’s not too late – you can add your post to the #Marguerite100 Facebook page all this week.
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