The fizz makes the scones light, with a terrific crust - eat with pumpkin soup, or slather with whipped cream and stem ginger for afternoon tea
My husband is a Kiwi and his family are fervent bakers. One elderly aunt, in particular, is prolific: for afternoon tea, she likes to make no fewer than eight different kinds of biscuits and cakes. Distracting though all that coconut frosting, chocolate twirls and fondant icing can be, it is her scones that really stand out - lemonade scones. I'd never heard of such a thing before. Just three ingredients, and mere minutes to make. The trick with scones is to bring the ingredients together swiftly, with as little mixing as possible. If you've ever made soda bread, it's the same preparation.
The sparkling drink seems to give the flour and cream a gravitational lift. The scones are light in texture, with a terrific crust. I've experimented here and used ginger beer, because that's the only fizzy soft drink I ever seem to buy. They were delicious with whipped cream and chopped stem ginger for afternoon tea, or for lunch alongside some pumpkin soup.
375g self-raising flour
170ml double cream
170ml ginger beer (roughly half a can)
2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 225C.
Sift the flour into a bowl. Make a well and add the cream, ginger beer and ground ginger, if using. With a spoon, bring all the ingredients together quickly, with as little mixing as possible - the dough should be cohesive but airy and moist.
Turn out on to a lightly floured surface.
Either break the dough into eight similar-sized pieces and give each a quick shape with your hands, or gently roll the dough into a giant sausage and cut into eight.
Lightly flour a baking tin, arrange the pieces of dough side by side and bake in the oven until nicely browned and crisp - between 12-15 minutes.
Best eaten within minutes! Or, at least, on the day they are baked.
Photo: Ginger beer scones. Photographs: Claire Thomson