Friday, January 8, 2016

A Really Big Scone

by Sheila Connolly

I mentioned recently that I’ve become addicted to the Great British Bake-Off (see my post here for Ginger Cake ), and I decided to order one of Mary Berry’s cookbooks, 100 Cakes and Bakes, so I could try my hand at some of the recipes. It’s a nice, small book. Each recipe fits on a single page, with a full-page picture of the (hoped-for) result opposite. It has a delightful range of traditional recipes, some of which I’d met only in books (for example, she provides one for Singin’ Hinnies, which I first encountered a few thousand years ago in Mary Stewart’s book, The Ivy Tree. I never expected to make them myself, but now I can if I want to).

Many of the recipes in the book are for sweets and desserts, but there are some nice savory ones as well. Since I was faced with a huge amount of ham left over from Christmas dinner, I decided to try something different: a scone with a lot of cheese. Not a cluster of cute little scones—one big one. It’s kind of fun, and it tastes good. 

Mary favors self-rising flour, which I don’t have, but you can make your own by adding baking powder and salt to regular flour. I just went straight to the flour/baking powder/salt combination. You (and Mary) can make the scone by hand, but I confess, I opted for my food processor, except for the final kneading step.

Mary Berry's Big Cheese Scone


1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tblsp baking powder
1 oz butter (1 fat pat)
8 oz (weight) cheddar cheese, grated (you can also mix your cheeses--I used a blend of cheddar and parmesan)
1 large egg
Whole milk


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet.

Place the flour, salt, mustard, cayenne and baking powder in the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times to mix.

Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. 

Stir in half the grated cheese (pulse just a few times).

Break the egg into a measuring cup and add milk to make up 1/2 cup. Mix lightly, then add the liquid into the dry ingredients and pulse until they make a soft dough.

Turn out on a floured surface and knead lightly a few times, until the dough holds together. Shape it into a 6-inch circle. Place on the greased baking sheet and mark in sixths. Brush with a little milk and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Cool on a wire rack.

Eat ASAP! It’s best served warm.

A Turn for the Bad (County Cork Mystery #4) is coming out February 2nd! The story was more or less handed to me by my Skibbereen police source (who is a great guy, as well as a historian and genealogist), combined with a more recent event that filled in some of the blanks in the story. 

You may be surprised at what goes on along the coast of West Cork!

Available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

And if you happen to be in Maryland early next month, I'll be signing at Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, MD on Saturday, February 6th, between 12 and 2. If you don't already know, that's the store managed by Nora Roberts' husband. Turns out Nora Roberts has family from Cork, so I was invited. I'm gobsmacked: I get to sign alongside Nora Roberts!


  1. Thanks for the recipe, Sheila! I'm less than 2 hours from Boonsboro, and Turn the Page has been on my list of places to go for a long time - if the weather is good I'm going to try and make the trip! :-)

    1. I hope you can! I've never been there, although I've heard of it. I've even heard of the other authors!

    2. I hope so, too! As long as the weather holds I'm planning on making the trip with one of my friends If so, I look forward to meeting you there! :-)

  2. What a fun idea--a big savory scone. And you're having it with ham and what?
    How fabulous about the signing invitation! Well done. Have a great time.

  3. Sheila, you got me at "cheese." yum!

    ~Daryl / Avery

    1. One nice thing about this recipe is that you can probably toss in whatever odds and ends of cheese you have handy (although I vetoed the goat blue cheese!).

  4. I love this series! I really like visiting County Cork with you!

    1. Good! Although it's an odd feeling to greet people who now know me there, and to notice which stores have changed and what's opened since the last trip. It's really becoming a second home.

  5. Great stuff, Sheila! I too am addicted to the Great British Baking Show. Thank you PBS, Watertown! I am jealous of your Mary Berry cookbook and very impressed with your giant scone. Your posts are always so much fun. Look forward to visiting Ireland with you again. Hugs. MJ

  6. I swear I'm going to make Singin' Hinnies, if only because I've remembered the name since I first read it.

    "My" pub (Connolly's) is off to a flying start--apparently it has been much missed in that part of the world. I can't wait to get back there again. At least I can say "I knew them when."

  7. I really enjoy making and serving scones. I love moist scones so cheese should do the trick.
    From Granby in the Berkshires to West Cork, I am there traveling with you. Just glad you had the magic touch to get the pub back for the locals. You really are amazing.
    Thank you for the recipe.