a quick scone for a leisurely tea


Scones for tea time at Casa de Gravy

One of the habits I’ve tried to bring back with me from Sri Lanka is afternoon tea.  When the hubby, the Gravy Baby and I were lazing about in the mountains last month, surrounded by tea plantations, our hostess at the estate house would serve us a tray of tea accompanied by some cake or scones topped with cream and jam.  We’d sip our tea and nibble on our warm treats while the Gravy Baby rolled around with his toys, and I just loved being able to slow down and take a minute to relax.  I vowed that I’d try to do that every once in awhile when were at home, during the Gravy Baby’s naps.

Well, as it turns out, there were a couple of flaws in my plan.  First of all, the appeal of afternoon tea is that everything is served to me on a platter, and all I have to do is pour, sit back and enjoy.  When I’m alone, the only person to prepare my tea is me, which means I have to start setting it up a good half-hour before I can sit down to enjoy it.  Secondly, the Gravy Baby went on a nap strike shortly after we came back from Sri Lanka, and suddenly my blissful 2-hour breaks in the afternoon were no more.  The dainty accompanying tea snack I’d envisioned having along with my tea was whittled down to a smear of peanut butter on toast.  This was eaten standing up with the Gravy Baby balanced on my hip, followed by gulping down my tea as soon as it was cool enough to do so (and sometimes, scalding my esophagus when I discovered it wasn’t).

So much for relaxing.


Left: whipped cream substitutes for traditional British clotted cream along with Danish Selection raspberry jam; above left: a closeup of the easiest scones I’ve ever made

I’d pretty much accepted that my best-laid plans had gone awry, despite a few attempts to make a quick bread or some sort of alternate snack that I could whip up in a jif.  Then I discovered quite possibly the easiest, quickest recipe for scones I’ve ever found.  The recipe promised at least a handful of scones in under 20 minutes, and given that I’ve had some truly terrible, dried-out scones before, I wasn’t very optimistic that these scones would be much different.

It turns out I was wrong.  With my trusty food processor and a small juice glass that I used as a biscuit cutter, not only did I beat the clock at under 20 minutes, but the scones were perfectly flaky and buttery, just the way I’d come to enjoy them in Sri Lanka.  Best of all, the recipe uses ingredients I regularly stock in my kitchen, so there wasn’t any need to run out to the market.  With the Gravy Baby distracted by his brightly-colored baby “jail,” I was even able to crank out some fresh whipped cream for topping the scones.  Along with my new favorite raspberry jam and some delicious Sri Lankan tea, in just about thirty minutes’ time I was able to sit down and enjoy my little afternoon break with the Gravy Baby happily bounce, bounce, bouncin’ away.

Read more about these easy scones by Mark Bittman here.


  1. Dan says

    Love Mark Bittman! Have you checked out the America’s Test Kitchen recipe? Not quite as quick (all mixed by hand), but amazing results.