Note: For the best result, if you know you are going to be making this, say, for breakfast the next morning, freeze the butter in advance. Take it out before you start to mix up the other ingredients and grate it on the coarse side of a grater. Pop it back in the freezer while you mix up the flour and leavening and prepare the milk & egg mixture. If you want to make these up on the spur of the moment, go for it. It will still be excellent without freezing the butter.
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour or a combination of the two)
1 T. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 T. sugar (you can leave this out with good results)
4 T. unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup raisins or other dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar (if including).
Lightly beat the egg in a large measuring cup that shows ounces. Add enough milk to the egg to equal a total of 5 oz.
Take the grated butter from the freezer and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender. When it resembles breadcrumbs, add in the milk/egg (reserve 1 tsp. to brush on the tops) and stir gently to combine. Add raisins (or add-in of choice) and stir them in. Work the dough as little as possible.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and give the dough a few folds. Here’s another opportunity for individual preference to assert itself. You may pat the dough into a round and cut it into wedges. Also feel free roll or pat in out about 3/4 in. thick and cut it into biscuit shapes with a cutter or cut it into squares or diamond shapes with a knife.
Place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with reserved milk/egg and bake for 10-11 minutes.
Serve hot with jam, butter, cream, creme fraiche, devonshire cream, or just enjoy plain.
With a cup of tea, of course.
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