Heather Williams’s mother, Doreen Taylor, was famous for her date scones. “When Mum was on supper at church all the ladies said, ‘You bring the date scones, Dor.’ They were delicious, even the next day,” Heather says.
She believes her mother’s scones were popular because they were very moist. “Mum always rubbed the butter in properly, cut the dates finely and rubbed them in as well,” Heather says. “Then she’d mix in an egg with the milk. She would butter the scones, put them on her best plates and serve them with cups of tea.”
Born in the Melbourne suburb of Yarraville in 1924, Doreen married Len Taylor at the age of 23 and had four children. Heather remembers her mother as a good home cook who made typical things. “We always had a roast on Saturday night because Mum played the organ in church on Sunday morning. On Sundays we’d have cold meat and salad for lunch, and then cakes for tea at about five o’clock.
“Friday was Mum’s baking day. On Friday night she would attend the ladies’ guild meeting at the church and they’d all bring one of their specialties.
“Once a year in November, the ladies’ guild would organise a fete to raise money for the church and Mum always made date scones. Everyone loved them.”
- 1 cup self-raising wholemeal flour
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 60g butter, chopped
- ¾ cup pitted dates, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- jam and whipped cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a shallow baking tray.
Sift combined flours into a large bowl. Return husks from sieve to flour mixture. Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Rub in chopped dates.
Whisk together egg and milk in a jug. Add to flour mixture. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until a soft dough forms. (Do not over-mix.) Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Pat out dough until 2.5cm thick. Use a 5cm-diameter cutter to cut 12 scones from dough. Place 1cm apart on prepared tray.
Bake and serve
Bake for 10–12 minutes or until scones sound hollow when tapped on top. Serve scones with jam and cream.
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