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FOOD : Afternoon Tradition : From Scotland Via Long Beach, a Cloud-Light Scone Recipe

April 17, 1988|BETSY BALSLEY | Betsy Balsley is The Times' food editor.

WHEN A TRUE Scot agrees to share a personal recipe for scones, you can bank on double enjoyment during a cozy afternoon tea break.

Mamie Meechan, a canny soul who escapes Edinburgh winters four months each year by dropping in on her daughter, Margaret Dennis of Long Beach, has a deft hand at producing cloud-like Scottish scones.

Her secret? Probably the self-rising flour that she uses. "We don't like them as well when she uses regular all-purpose flour," daughter Margaret says. Meechan uses regular flour only for pastry.

Two tips when you make these scones: First, be sure the self-rising flour you use is fresh. It loses its oomph after a while. Second, be prepared to make these scones often. They're as addictive as potato chips.

AFTERNOON-TEA SCONES 2 cups self-rising flour 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 tablespoon sugar 1 egg 3/4 cup milk Place flour in large bowl. Cut in butter with fork or pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in sugar. Beat egg and milk together with whisk. Gradually and lightly stir in all but one tablespoon of liquid to obtain a soft dough. Turn out onto floured board and lightly pat dough into a round, handling as little as possible. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough to about 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter. (If pastry sticks to cutter, dip cutter in flour.) Place rounds 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Press trimmings together lightly and reroll to cut more rounds. Brush tops of scones with remaining 1 tablespoon egg-and-milk mixture. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve at once with butter and raspberry jam or cool on wire rack. Though best if eaten the day they are made, these can be frozen. Leftovers can be toasted. Makes about 12.

Sultana Scones

Add 3 tablespoons golden raisins at same time that sugar is added to basic recipe.

Photographed by Carin Krasner / Food styled by Janet Miller / Props styled by Rosemary Aguayo / Photographed at Angels Attic, Santa Monica

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