A couple of weeks ago, we invited one of our favourite married couples, the Wiltoteks, over for afternoon tea (no, that’s not really their name… but it would be awesome if it was, don’t you think?)
As I tidied up afterwards, I realised that I really ought to invite people over for afternoon tea more often. It’s one of the least stressful options for entertaining – brunch often means waking up early in the morning to make sure the house is presentable, deal with any last-minute shopping and get started on the cooking, while dinner parties can linger until late and leave someone tidying up at midnight. Tea, on the other hand, is an absolutely perfect compromise. Not too early, not too late, and no one feels guilty if they have to leave after an hour or two because they’ve got dinner plans.
Not that this particular afternoon tea was perfect, mind you. I’d initially planned it thinking we’d spend an idyllic spring afternoon basking in warm sunshine, sitting beneath the lilacs in full bloom… but Canadian springs being what they are, what we got instead was a frigid weekend, complete with high winds and frost warnings. Idyllic, it was not. So, we cut a large bouquet of lilac blossoms to bring indoors, and sipped our tea basking in the warmth of our central heating instead.
To make up for the weather, I covered the table with an assortment of nibbles, including crustless sandwiches, bite-sized muffins, and scones with all the usual toppings.
And since spring also means locally-grown fresh rhubarb, I couldn’t resist stirring some into my scones. Still warm from the oven, flavoured with a hint of spicy ginger and slathered with generous spoonfuls of clotted cream and lemon marmalade, they made the perfect antidote to a cold, blustery spring afternoon… not too sweet, not too tart, but just right.
These tender, fluffy scones dotted with tangy fresh rhubarb are the perfect addition to a spring brunch or afternoon tea. Serve tjem up still-warm, if you can, with a little container of clotted cream or sweet butter.
- 2 cups rhubarb
- 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together rhubarb, 3 tbsp sugar and fresh ginger, and stir to evenly coat the rhubarb pieces.
- In a larger mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, ground ginger and salt with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the cold butter, working until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the rhubarb mixture. Add milk, reserving 1 tbsp for later, and stir until just barely combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and gently knead 5-6 times. Shape into a ball. Place dough on the prepared baking sheet, then flatten out into a 1″ thick round. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the dough into 8 wedges, making sure not to cut all the way through. Brush top with remaining 1 tbsp milk, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake scones in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.