Mango scones have become one of my favourite sweets treats since the Crazy Delicious show. I love everything about them - the texture, flavour combination and versatility. Moreover, I have started using this triangle of flavours (mango, basil and lime) very often in all my bakes.
The Afternoon Tea
The best part about the Crazy Delicious experience was creating the concept of the Afternoon Tea. You can read all about my experience on the show in this post.
The final challenge was to create a Feast for the Gods, and I wanted to make every element stand out. Therefore, all my dishes had to look beautiful to impress.
From the Fairy House tarts to firefly mango scones, all dishes are elements you typically find in fairytales. I used unique flavour combinations that play on traditional French and English cuisines to create a full experience.
All quintessential afternoon teas traditionally have: finger sandwiches, small cakes and, most importantly, scones and tea.
What should I know about scones?
No high tea will be complete without the staple British scone. The small sweet treats are known as 'biscuits' in the USA and are typically served with clotted cream and jam.
The really scrumptious biscuits are the perfect partner to a good ol' cuppa tea. Traditionally, the scones can be either plain or with dried fruit. Additionally, they are served with clotted cream and sweet fruit jam. Nonetheless, one can never have too many scones, but please don't tell that to my waistband.
Scones are made with baking powder, which means no proving is needed. In fact, this makes scones very quick to make and pretty much fail-proof. The secret to scones is making sure you don't over-mix the dough, as this can result in a dense interior. Scones need to be very light and almost aerated inside.
Equally important is keeping a moist scone. This is done by adding in dried and fresh fruit. For instance, the most common additions for scones are sultanas or dried berries.
Secrets to making perfect mango scones
As always, I like to take traditional recipes and reinvent them. For the firefly mango scones, I decided to use a combination of sweet mango, basil and lime. Firstly, using soft dried and fresh mango in the scone gives a wonderful fragrance. Secondly, maximum flavour is achieved by using a homemade mango, lime and basil jam.
It's really easy and straightforward to make scones. There are a handful of tricks you need to remember to get the perfect scone time after time. Here are my tried and tested tips and tricks.
Mixing the dough
The most important thing to remember is to be gentle with the dough. The secret to a light and fluffy scone is to just about combine the dough when mixing.
Firstly, we're looking for a fairly lumpy dough, which is perfectly fine. For instance, if you over-mix until the dough is smooth you will get a dense and bread-like scone. In contrast to most baking recipes, here you should still be able to see particles of flour in the dough.
Not overdoing it with fruit
Scones typically have dry fruit or raising inside, which make them really aromatic. However, modifying the recipe and adding too many 'wet' ingredients can result in an uneven bake.
Moreover, you need to be cautious when adding fresh fruit. The high moisture in the fruit can result in a raw scone. My rule of thumb is never go over ⅓ fruit per flour content. For example, you will need about 300g of fruit per 1kg of flour.
Choosing the right fruits
Dried or soft-dried fruit generally work much better than fresh fruit. You can use cranberry, sultanas (or raisins) or dried mango to make delicious scones. It is important to remember that fresh fruit should be firmer. Moreover, you should avoid soft fruit as it can result in an uneven bake. For instance, strawberries or raspberries will not work very well, whereas apricots or firmer mango will work much better.
Don't bake too long
Baking your scones for too long can easily make them too dry. Namely, 15-16 minutes at 190°C or 170°C with fan will do the trick.
Most importantly, scones should be a light golden colour, not brown. Get to know your oven and perhaps try baking a smaller batch of scones first to check the result.
The perfect scone filling
Any British person will swear by the perfect combination: scone, clotted cream and jam. Clotted cream brings a thick creaminess, whilst the jam adds sweetness.
So what is clotted cream and why is it so important for scones?
Clotted cream is a very thick cream made from cow's milk. It has the consistency of slightly butter.
Although I'm aware that clotted cream can be tricky to find in the USA, don't fret little firefly (pun intended). For example, a great substitute for British clotted cream is mixing heavy cream with some mascarpone. Although isn't the real thing, it's a good candidate for a tasty scone.
Home made jam
Sure, we all love the convenience of store-bought goods. However, the truth is that store-bought products rarely taste as rich as the homemade version.
I grew up with a grandmother that used to make seasonal jams whenever fresh fruit became available. She made everything from strawberry to sour cherry and even rose jam, therefore I'm a big fan.
Since the Crazy Delicious show, I have become quite adventurous with flavour combinations. The best jam flavour I have found so far is mango and basil with a dash of lime. Firstly, mango brings wonderful sweetness and fragrance. Next, lime brings the tartness and balances out the sweetness. Finally, basil brings the grassiness and authentic aroma. On the whole, it's safe to say that it's a match made in Heaven.
The firefly wings
This step is completely optional, as the scone is absolutely gorgeous even without added embellishments. Nevertheless, I still wanted to show you how I achieved the look of the scones on the show.
What do you need?
The ingredients are quite simple: edible wafer paper, edible pen and food colouring or airbrush food colouring. Edible wafer paper can be found in specialty baking stores or online. When working with this paper, be careful not to get it too wet, as it can curl up and lose shape.
How do I attach the wings to the scone?
It's quite simple - all you need is some melted white chocolate. Conversely, the much easier option is candy melts, which can melted in the microwave.
To attach the wings, take a tiny bit of candy melt or chocolate with a teaspoon and place it on the top of the scone. Let it dry for a few seconds, then attach the wings onto it. Et voila, we have a firefly!
The mango, lime and basil jam
Mango, lime and basil are a winning combination. Mango brings in sweetness, while lime adds acidity and the basil makes everything more grassy and fragrant.
The secret to making the jam is having good quality mango, ripe but still firm. Equally important, all ingredients need to be fresh for this jam to taste right.
Although mango is a fruit naturally rich in pectin, it does need some added help. Accordingly, you can use either jam sugar or liquid pectin to thicken up the jam to the perfect consistency.
I like my jam more runny, but if you prefer a thicker version just add more liquid pectin. However, do not increase the quantity of jam sugar, as it will result in an overly-sweet jam. In addition, liquid pectin is perfect because it does not have a specific taste.
Alternatively, you can reduce the jam for a longer period over low heat to remove some of the moisture. Most importantly, don't forget to mix continuously.
On the whole, mango scones are definitely a wonderful treat to add to any afternoon tea. I really hope you enjoy this recipe and try it out the first chance you get!
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Mango Scones with Homemade Mango Jam
The Scone (Biscuit)
- 1 kg flour
- 125 g butter
- 125 g margarine
- 15 g baking powder
- 150 g milk
- 50 g lime juice
- 160 g mango juice
- 175 g sugar
- 1 egg, large
- 250 g fresh mango
- 100 g soft dried mango
- 1 handful basil leaves, fresh
- 2 teaspoon lime zest
Mango & Lime Jam
- 300 g mango, cubed
- 150 g pectin jam
- 30 g pectin, liquid
- 60 g lime juice
- 1 handful basil leaves, fresh
- 1 wafer paper
- food colouring
- white chocolate / candy melts
The scone (biscuit)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (360°F) fan assisted.
- Mix the flour with baking powder. Use your hands to rub in the butter and margarine until you reach a sandy texture.
- In a small bowl mix the milk with 1 large egg and the sugar. Save a bit of the liquid mixture for later to wash the scones.
- Form a well in the middle of the flour and add the milky mixture, along with the lime and mango juice. Mix until the ingredients just about combined. Use your hands if necessary, but do not over-mix.
- Add the fresh mango and soft dried mango finely chopped along with the lime zest and finely chopped basil. Use hands to combine, and do not over-mix.
- Sprinkle some flour on the work surface and roll dough out with a rolling pin to 3cm (1 ¼ inches) thickness. Do not press hard, as we only need to flatten the dough.
- Use a 6-7cm (2 - 2 ½ inches) cookie cutter to cut scones. Place on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, apply plain egg wash with a pastry brush over the top of the scones. Bake for an additional 5-6 minutes or until golden.
- Let cool in the tray for 15 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack.
The mango, lime and basil jam
- Chop the mango and basil finely or pulse in a food processor to get a thick paste.
- Add mango paste in a saucepan over low-medium heat.
- Add the jam sugar and lime juice. Bring mixture to boil.
- Boil jam for 4-5 minutes until the entire mixture thickens.
- Add the liquid pectin, then cook over low heat for another 2-3 minutes.
- Place finished jam in a tray, cover with cling film and let cool. Place in fridge to set completely.
Assembling the scones
- Cut scones in half and spread some clotted cream and mango and basil jam on each half. Combine like a sandwich.
- Paint firefly wings on a wafer paper using food colouring or airbrush. Cut out each individual wing. Use melted chocolate to attach wings to the top half of the scone.
- Apply clotted cream and mango jam on the lower half of the scones. Attach the top half on top to complete the firefly scone.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale in grams for more accuracy. The cups used for the conversion are standard US customary cups (1 cup flour = 136g). There are many different types of cups across the globe, which is why I strongly recommend using grams instead.
- Adding too much fruit into the dough can make the scone bake unevenly.
- Over-mixing the dough will result in a dough scone. To avoid this, the dough needs to be just about combined.