Eight of us arrived at Elaine’s apartment with our aprons, ready to start and take her expert instruction on Muffins, Scones and Biscuits. She quickly organised us into pairs in her kitchen and allocated us to our stations – chopping, grating, measuring and following the recipes for the first items on our list of baking tasks that day – multitudinous muffin types: breakfast sausage, ham and cheddar, bran and cranberry corn. Despite a lot of chatting, laughter and mistakes, Elaine kept us on task and we were rewarded with a coffee break and the fruits of our labours – we were proud to agree that all of the muffins were delicious!
Elaine quickly had us busy again on making 5 different kinds of scones – English cream tea, cheese and herbs, orange and yogurt and oatmeal and pecan. She started by explaining how a basic scone mix could be adapted using different flours and additions of fruit, nuts amongst other ingredients and warned that over-handling of the dough produces a heavy scone – so a light hand is needed!
We moved straight on from scones to biscuits, though it soon became clear that the definition of biscuit varies from country to country and as we were a group of 6 different nationalities it was a lively discussion! We made shortcake biscuits with strawberries and buttermilk, whole wheat and scallion versions also.
Elaine had prepared lunch for us, a chicken and dumpling stew which we enjoyed with our biscuits, scones and muffins on the terrace. It was such an enjoyable and informative morning, and we were in awe of Elaine’s organisational and teaching skills. She had a tremendous amount of patience with such an unruly class and we are so grateful to her for her time and generosity.
Now, when is the next bake off?…….
Edited by Susannah Grant