Buttermilk Scones with Cheshire Cheese and Chives
I'm convinced cheese scones were invented to use up the last remnants of some wonderful cheese – in this case, Cheshire.
When you're down to the last bit, that is the time to make these meltingly light, squidgy cheese scones. Serve them for tea on Sunday, warm from the oven and spread with butter.
Start by sifting the flour into a bowl, holding the sieve up quite high to give the flour an airing, then add the mustard, salt and one really good pinch of cayenne.
Mix them in thoroughly, then rub the butter in, using your fingertips, until it's all crumbly. Now mix in the 3 oz (75 g) grated cheese along with the freshly snipped chives. Next, beat the egg with 2½ tablespoons buttermilk and gradually add it to the dry ingredients, mixing first with a knife then with your hands to make a soft dough – if it seems a little dry add another ½ tablespoon of buttermilk or enough to make a soft smooth dough that will leave the bowl clean. It's important not to overwork the dough or the scones will be heavy.
Now roll it out as evenly as possible to around 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick – be very careful not to roll the dough out too thinly. The secret of well-risen scones is to start off with a thickness no less than an inch. Then using a fluted cutter, cut out 6 scones. You may need to re-roll the dough to cut out all six.
Now place them on the well-greased baking sheet, brush the tops with milk, then sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top of each scone, along with a faint sprinkling of cayenne.
Bake them on a high shelf for about 15-20 minutes until the scones are risen and golden brown. Then cool a little on a wire rack, but serve warm, spread with lots of butter.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C).
You will also need a well-greased baking sheet measuring 10 x 12 inches (25.5 x 30 cm) and a 2½ inch (6 cm) fluted cutter