Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Perfect Scone Part 1: The Problem

I love baking (and eating) scones. So, when I came to Tokyo I was delighted that scones were everywhere! There were hundreds of varieties, from the jewelled super-scone

to the traditionally inspired (matcha flavoured)

to convenience-store seasonal varieties

home-made looking local bakery offerings

...and everything in between. Yum! I should have been in heaven. But I wasn't: instead, I felt like the country bumpkin in Aesop's The Town Mouse and Country Mouse: every single Japanese scone I tried was too rich: biscuity and cake-like and (to me) sickly. Where were the light, bread-like scones of Home? 

I dreamed about the sweet raisin variety:

The plain 'with jam and cream' variety:

Most of all, I dreamed of the heady, flour-and-sugar smell coming out of my oven on a Saturday morning. Mmm, Aah. But no...argh! Normally there wouldn't be a problem - I've baked thousands of scones in the UK, why not do the same in Tokyo? I'd already mixed up a batch in my mind - but then, the horrible truth hit me. Japanese homes don't have ovens. And, Japanese superarkets don't stock self-raising flour. So there was nowhere to put them, and nothing to make them with. The tools I had were a microwave and a bag of tempura flour, neither of which I'd ever baked with before. Eek!

So began a long journey of experiments, failures and tweaking before I finally bit into something worth the effort.

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