Cardamom & Vanilla Scones With Lemon Curd
What pops into your head when you think about traditional English baked goods? I immediately think of Victoria sponge, closely followed by sticky toffee pudding, shortbread and scones! Scones oozing with jam and cream is the version we all know but I’ve really enjoyed playing with alternative ideas lately since realising that the basic, traditional scone recipe is naturally egg free (and replacing milk and butter is a doddle). Utilising my latest favourite vegan discovery – namely lemon curd – has been my goal lately and it tastes heavenly zingy on these cardamom and vanilla scented scones. This is a pretty cool recipe that makes full use of the magical properties of cashews (when blended they make an indulgently creamy sauce that thickens when heated – bingo!) and feels like the perfect, Spring-like post for St George’s Day.
For the Cashew Lemon Curd:
75g raw cashews, soaked in freshly-boiled water for a couple of hours. (Drain afterwards)
Zest and juice of 3 lemons, plus water to bring juice level to 150ml if necessary
75g caster sugar
Optional: A tiny pinch of saffron or turmeric (naturally enhances the yellow tone)
2 tbsp vegan butter
For the Cardamom & Vanilla Scones (You can make 8 individual scones using a round cutter or 1 big scone sliced into wedges – the latter is easier!)
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cardamom
45g vegan butter (Block Stork/Pure/Vitalite all fine)
25g caster sugar
140ml non-dairy milk, maybe 1-2 tbsp more (your favourite, almond works well here)
1 tsp natural vanilla paste or extract
To make the lemon curd (Allow to cool/chill before use):
Drain the cashews, and place in a blender with the lemon zest and juice (topped up with water if necessary), sugar and saffron or turmeric if using. Whizz on the highest speed for a good couple of minutes or until completely smooth and creamy.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat very gently while stirring. By the time it starts to bubble it will also thicken. Keep stirring for just a minute then remove from the heat. Whisk in the vegan butter then transfer to a dish or jar cool and firm up. Store in the refrigerator and use within about a week.
To make the scones:
Preheat the oven to 220c / 450f / gas mark 7
Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cardamom and vegan butter in a mixing bowl and rub together until you have a rubbly, almost sandy mixture. Stir in the sugar.
Combine the milk and vanilla and pour into the bowl. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to quickly bring the ingredients together. You will have a very soft dough that you should be able to just about bring together with your hands. If it feels dry, sprinkle in another tablespoon of milk.
Place on a large baking sheet (line it with baking paper if you like) and pat down into a fat disc, about 1 inch thick. Use a dough scraper/cutter or a ruler to press through the dough, right down to the baking sheet, to make quarters then eighths. Brush with a little milk (as you can see from the pictures, I brushed with milk before cutting – I recommend doing it once you’ve finished). Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 16-18 minutes. The top will feel firm when pressed and look golden and crusty. A skewer should come out clean.
After a few minutes or as soon as you’re able to touch it, gently cut through the markings you made earlier to separate the scones, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy buttered and spread thickly with the lemon curd. Scones are best eaten within 24 hours.