Last week I took Lila, age 8, to afternoon tea at a tea parlor in New York City. I usually meet her after school on Wednesdays and we do something special together. On this particular day she requested tea because she said she wanted “scones and jam and that soft white stuff we had at Zev’s bar mitzvah," (the celebration after the service was an Afternoon Tea).

The “soft white stuff” was, of course, clotted cream.

Who can resist clotted cream?

Lila has good taste. I say that not just because she understands that clotted cream is something wonderful. But also because when we were seated at our table, she noticed that our places were set with clunky mugs while at the next table there were beautiful floral-design china tea cups, which, when the waiter left after taking our order, she switched. Then she switched the sugar box from our plain white earthenware one to the next table’s gold-trimmed bone china one.

I thought such niceties were gone from the earth, at least for young folks, so I felt positively uplifted by what she did.

Fancy is good sometimes, don’t you think?

As for the scones, Lila had known about those long before our date or even her cousin’s bar mitzvah celebration. She and I have made them at my house. Scones are easy. Even a young child can do it.

Scones also take very little time. And they are amazingly tender, moist and flaky.

Scones: perfect for tea, breakfast, coffee break, snack and even a bar mitzvah celebration. With or without the jam and that soft white stuff.  


Scottish Lemon Currant Scones


  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel        
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in a bowl. Add the butter in chunks and work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in currants. Mix the egg and buttermilk together and add them to the dry ingredients. Mix until a soft dough forms. Roll the dough on a floured surface to a 1/2" thickness. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter. Place the scones on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are browned and well risen.


Makes 12


NOTE: you may also make wedge-shaped scones: divide dough in half, then roll each half to 1/2” thick circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges.