We recently had very enjoyable afternoon tea in Reid’s hotel in Madeira. The tearooms are ideally situated on a balcony, overlooking a tropical garden and the glistening blue sea. The whole experience was idyllic and felt a little like walking back in time, to an age where afternoon tea was all the go. Our table was covered with pristine starched linens and we were presented with shiny silver teapots, fine bone china cups and tiered plates of delights. We nibbled on delicate prawn sandwiches, pillow soft scones with clotted cream, and a whole array of sweet pastries and cakes. It was such a relaxing afternoon and we savoured every bite.
The waiter told us playfully that our sandwiches must be eaten first, before we could get our batch of warm scones. I felt a bit like a school child, as I ate my sandwiches and waited impatiently for the scones and clotted cream. It did get me thinking though, about the idea of savoury scones for Afternoon tea. I have tried courgette scones before, but this time I wanted to try something sweeter – sweet potato. I wanted to re- create the whole idea of jam and clotted cream to go with my sweet potato scones so I used some beetroot which I made into a jam. I then served my scones with some crème fraiche in place of clotted cream. They were delicious. Scones that can be eaten anytime of the day, before or after your sandwiches
- 225g of plain flour
- 150g sweet potato, cooked , skinned and mashed
- ½ tsp of salt
- ½ tsp of breads soda
- 60 -70ml of buttermilk
- Beaten egg
- Fennel seeds
- Glug of olive oil
- 10g of butter
- 100g of chopped shallots, diced finely
- 150g of raw beetroot, skinned and grated
- ½ tsp of dried chilli flakes
- 1 tbs of sugar
- 2 tbs of red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
To begin, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. To make the scones, sieve the flour, salt and bread soda into a large bowl. Add the mashed sweet potato and stir in well with a fork. Once the mashed sweet potato has been well combined, add the buttermilk a little at a time. My sweet potatoes were quiet juicy so I only needed 60 ml to bring the mixture into dough. You might need more or less, depending on your sweet potatoes. Place the dough on a lightly floured board. Pat it down with the palm of your hands or use a rolling pin to roll it into a slab. Cut out the scones using a floured round cutter. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with some crushed fennel seeds.Place in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the beetroot jam, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the oil and shallots. Sauté the shallots for 5 minutes before adding the grated beetroot and chilli flakes. Cook over a very low heat for about 45 minutes. You really want the beetroot to soften and caramelise. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Once the grated beetroot is soft and jammy, taste, and season with salt and pepper. Leave to cool.
To serve, I heated my scones in a warm oven for 5 minutes. I placed the beetroot jam and the creme fraiche in little dishes on the side. Serve with a nice big pot if tea.
Our Afternoon Tea at Reid’s was at our own expense, and this post is not sponsored. However it’s a lovely place for Afternon tea if you do happen to be in that neck of the woods.