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Spud Sunday: Irish Eating

Potato Scones

For all that I enjoy using potato in unexpected ways – and my recipe for potato ‘risotto’ [1] in the Goodalls Cookbook [2] is a case in point – I also love the downright traditional, and was attracted to the homely comfort of potato scones, one of the recipes submitted by the The ICA Adult Education Centre in An GrianĂ¡n, Co. Louth [3] for inclusion in the ICA cookbook [4], and a great accompaniment to a bowl of soup or a good ol’ fry up.

The recipe in the book closes thus: “Best eaten hot with lots of butter.” If I were a potato, I’d have that etched on my gravestone.

Potato scones

Seriously though, these are scones that should, ideally, be scoffed not long after they exit the oven (and the addition of butter is, of course, highly recommended). Adding a large amount of mashed potato to a scone is great for flavour – not to mention a great way of using up leftover mash – but it inevitably introduces moistness, so the crust of the scones will start to soften after a few hours. If you do have scones that have softened, don’t despair – you can always split and toast them, or reheat in a pan, before you butter them up.

The recipe below is adapted slightly from the one in the ICA book. I’ve used rosemary as my choice of herb flavouring and used an egg to bind instead of milk – this makes the scones a little richer and will result in a slightly drier texture when baked. I also like to brush the tops with some good olive or rapeseed oil for a bit of extra flavour and crustiness when just baked.

You’ll need:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 85g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp finely minced rosemary needles (or use a mixture of rosemary and thyme)
  • 225g cooked, mashed potatoes, cooled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • splash of milk (optional)
  • rapeseed or olive oil to coat (optional)

You’ll also need:

  • A large baking tray – mine was about 30cm x 40cm and plenty big enough.

The Steps:

  • Preheat your oven to 200C
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Rub the butter in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the chopped rosemary and then the mashed potato.
  • Add the beaten egg and, using your hand, mix gently until the mixture comes together as a dough. If it still seems very crumbly, add a splash of milk to help bind it together.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands or a rolling pin, press it out until it’s around 1cm in height. Using a cutter or a knife, cut into individual scones (I prefer to make mini-scones, around 3-4cm across, but you can make them bigger or smaller as you please – smaller ones will take a little less time to bake).
  • Brush the scones with rapeseed or olive oil if you like (or alternatively, glaze with a little beaten egg) and place on a large, lightly floured baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and risen. These really are best fresh – hot from the oven, split and served with butter.

The Variations:

  • Adjust the herbs according to what you have (and like) or omit the herbs to make a plain scone and serve hot with butter and honey.

The Results:

  • Makes 16 to 24 mini-scones.