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Cheesy Sage and Onion Scones

Cheesy sage and onion scones

The method here is one that I saw Catherine Fulvio [1] demo at Taste of Christmas, where she made a flavoured white soda bread dough, brushed the rolled-out dough with pesto, then coiled it up and sliced off individual scones for baking. A fabulously simple idea and endlessly variable.

This version here is inspired by one of my favourite Christmas foods: stuffing – that more-ish mixture of breadcrumbs, butter and onion, with maybe some apple, maybe some celery and always some sage. And while you wouldn’t really put cheese in your stuffing, I couldn’t resist adding some to the scone version because, well, the Taste of Christmas theatre show was nothing if not cheesy…

For the filling:
  • 1 tblsp butter
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (about 100g), very finely chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 0.25 tsp dried sage
  • 0.25 tsp dried thyme
  • pinch of celery seeds (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper
For the dough:
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bread soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 75g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 small cooking apple, such as bramley, peeled, cored and grated (you’ll need about 100g once grated)
  • 300-400ml buttermilk
You’ll also need:
  • One or more large baking trays, depending on size
The Steps:
  • To prepare the filling, place a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the butter and oil and, when hot, add the onions, a pinch of salt, the sage, thyme and celery seeds if using. Stir and fry for around 5 minutes or until the onions have softened but not browned. Season with a few twists of black pepper. Remove from the heat.
  • Preheat your oven to 200C
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, bread soda, salt and sugar.
  • Stir the grated cheese and grated apple into the flour mixture. Form a well in the centre and pour in about 300ml of the buttermilk. Use your hand to gently mix and bring together as a dough, adding more buttermilk if the mixture is too dry. The final dough should not be too wet or sticky.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Divide in two and roll each piece into an oblong around 30cm x 20cm – it should be around 3-4mm thick. Scatter the cooked onions onto the rolled-out pieces of dough. Roll each piece of dough up along the longer side and press the edges together (dampening with a little buttermilk to help seal the edges if they’re not sticking together). Slice each roll into pieces around 2cm thick. Place the slices flat i.e. cut side up, on one or more floured baking trays and bake for around 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  • Eat warm or at room temperature. They’re just the thing to have alongside a wintry bowl of soup.
The Variations:
  • Well of course you could add some fried, crumbled bacon to the filling if you like. You can also leave out the cheese and apple and just have sage and onion scones (in which case I’d probably add some chopped fresh herbs to the dough).
The Results:
  • Makes around 30 small scones.