Sourdough fruit scones

Needing yet another means of using up starter, I hit upon this idea. The starter doesn’t need to be active (although it’s also fine if it is) — it’s the baking powder that does the work. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my first effort in terms of texture, but otherwise they were fine if rather rustic. A little more liquid next time should sort it.

Use whatever dried fruit you fancy: cranberries, cherries, sultanas, chopped dried apricots … the dried fruit guy at our local market does chunks of semi-dried apple tossed in cinnamon sugar, and these worked really well, chopped into small dice. I mixed them with sultanas and cranberries.

400 g plain flour
8 g baking powder
100 g cold butter
pinch salt
100 g golden caster sugar
125 g dried fruit
250 g sourdough starter, active or not
80 ml milk, warmed, plus a little more if necessary
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 200C and butter a baking sheet. Put the flour and baking powder in a bowl, add the cubed butter, and start cutting it in with two knives, then finish off by rubbing it in with your fingers. Add sugar and fruit and stir together.

In a jug, mix the starter, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour most of it into the dry ingredients and mix gently together. You want to end up with a soft but not sticky dough, so add the rest of the starter mixture plus a little extra milk if necessary, being careful not to overwork it.

Tip onto a floured surface and pat out gently to about 2.5 cm thick. Use a round floured cutter to cut out your scones, pressing down firmly once without twisting. Put the scones on the baking sheet. Bring together the dough trimmings, pat out again, and cut out again to use all the dough.

Brush the scones with a little milk, and bake for 15-20 minutes, till golden and risen. Put on a cooling rack and eat while still warm. Best on the day they are made, but you can freeze leftovers and reheat from frozen. I made nine giant scones but you’d get a dozen with a more reasonably sized cutter.

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