I don’t believe there is a baked good more controversial than the scone. But to protect my reputation, i will not enter the murky waters of the debate over whether cream or jam should be put on top. I’m adamant about my choice, and will sit smugly (and quietly) with it. The one truth that I refuse to ignore is that a good biscuit deserves (no! needs!) a nice jam. a good jam. This jam is awesome.

Orange Scrufy Scones

To add insult to injury, I have omitted rolling and cutting and instead, opted to simply ball these up into what I call “scruffy Scones”, though depending on where you are from, both in time and geographically, you may wish to refer to them as “rock cakes”. It’s okay if that is the case.

Prep 5 min

Rest 30 minutes

Cook 50 minutes


450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

Orange zest and juice

15g of baking powder

Fine salt, 1/2 teaspoon

80g of caster sugar

80g of unsalted butter diced at room temperature

200-250g full-fat creme fraiche

1 large egg yolk

Pearl sugar, for dusting (optional)

Clotted Cream to be served

Mix the flour with the orange zest, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter in until you get fine breadcrumbs. You can do this either by hand or with a freestanding mixer equipped with the paddle attachment.

Add enough creme fraiche (in grams) to make the weight of the mixture 300g. Mix the ingredients together, add the wet to the dry and stir. If you are doing it by hand, cut the ingredients with a palette knife or butter knife. Once the mixture starts to clump together, use your hands to bring it into a smooth paste. Dust the worktop with flour, and then knead for 30 seconds or a minute until it is smooth. Cover the dough with a clean towel and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and heat the oven to 200C (390F/180C fan). Divide the scone batter into 10 equal portions. I weigh and divide it by 10, to be exact. Each portion should be rolled into a rough, unpolished ball. The more scruffier the better. Place on a lined baking sheet. Rest for 10 minutes.

While the egg white is beating, add a pinch or two of salt to the yolk and add the smallest amount of water possible. Glaze the scruffy Scones liberally using the egg wash using a pastrybrush. Sprinkle the pearl sugar on top if desired.

Bake for 15-17 mins, until golden and puffy. Remove from tray and cool on rack. Serve with the jam and clotted crème.

Jam with cherry, anise, and sherry

This jam has a wonderful cherry flavor. My mother-in law, who is always fussy about spices, didn’t know the anise in it because the flavour harmonised with the cherry. You’ll also need a jam jar that has been sterilised.

Prep 15 minutes

Infuse for 1 hour

Cook 30 minutes

Makes 1 jar

Fresh Cherrys 400g

70ml fino sherry

2 Star Anise

275g jam sugar

You can use the newfangled pitting device, or you can remove the cherry stalks. After doing this, I had about 340g of cherry flesh.

Put the cherries in a medium-sized saucepan along with the star anise and sherry. Bring to a rolling boil on high heat. Remove from heat and let the mixture infuse for one hour.

Then, add the jam and sugar to the pan and heat it on medium high. Allow the jam to boil, stirring frequently, until it reaches 105C using an instant-read thermometer. (For me, this took 17 minutes but don’t get too hung up on timings). Pour the hot jam in a sterilized jam jar. Seal and let it cool. It will last for 12 months if you store it in a dark, cool place. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and consume within three months.

John Whaite has been a TV presenter and cookery writer for over 20 years.

  • This article has been amended to remove references to budget on the 3rd of July 2023.

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