July 2013 we spent a month in Ireland searching for our O’Keeffe ancestors. Three of those weeks we lived in one of the Park South Self catering cottages located between Doneraile and Mallow. Eva, the owner, also owns a B&B next door.
Upon arrival we were welcomed by Eva with a plate of warm homemade scones with Irish butter and gooseberry jam. She makes these daily for her B&B guests.
During our “lovely” (commonly used word in Ireland) stay on the edge of green pastures with grazing dairy cows and the Nagle mountains in the distance, we were treated with more scones, apple pie, fairy or queen cupcakes, strawberry short cake, soda bread and chocolate éclairs…all made from scratch! After two weeks, we asked her for a cooking lesson on some of her treats.
For three hours we watched the “Tornado” whiz around her kitchen as she demonstrated her skills in five different treats.
Eva grew up in the country side of Mallow on a dairy farm. Her family grew fruits and vegetables to be self-sufficient. She learned to cook, bake and preserve foods which has given her the skills to operate a highly successful B&B for the past 35 years. Her love of baking and her delightful Irish spirit and sense of humor are a joy to partake of.
Irish Scone recipes of today aren’t necessarily the same as years gone by. Everyone has their favorite ingredients. The following is Eva’s.
16 oz flour (2 cups)
2 oz butter
2 oz sugar (1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pint buttermilk (1/2 cup)
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp cream
2oz sultanas or any of the following: dried cherries, chopped apples, raspberries, chocolate chips
Combine all dry ingredients
Toss in air
Mix buttermilk with eggs. Save some to use as coating
Pour buttermilk mixture into well in dry ingredients. Leave
Forming hand into claw, mix together. Do Not over mix
Add dried fruit if desired
Add enough flour to make not sticky. Sprinkle flour on bread board. Pour dough on board. Sprinkle flour on dough. Roll out. Use cutter and place on cookie sheet. Cover with egg mixture. Bake 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with jam.
She grows gooseberries in her back yard which are green when picked. She makes her own jam which actually becomes red when cooked. (See photo) This is served with the warm scones.