Claridge’s, a five-star hotel in Mayfair, London, serves one of the world’s most elite afternoon tea services. Among the many sweets, sandwiches, and teas served, Thibault Hauchard, Claridge’s executive pastry chef, says the most iconic item is the scone: for the afternoon tea, in general, and mostly for Claridge’s.
Head baker Jessy Maniou is tasked with making the scones. He starts by combining flour, sugar with salt, baking powder, and very cold butter, then mixing. “If something is going wrong with the scones, in general, it’s the mixing,” Hauchard says. “If we mix too much, it will be not the same texture at the end, and if we don’t mix enough, [the same result].”
Once the batch of dough is mixed, half is used for the plain scone, and the other half is reserved for a raisin scone. On the weekends, Hauchard says, the kitchen will make 500 scones: “250 plain, 250 raisin. During the week it can be 200, 220.”
Once the dough is pressed and cut into smaller circles, the top gets rubbed with an egg wash consisting of only egg yolk and cream. This helps give the scones a shiny layer on top.
Maniou says he had never heard of scones before starting this job, and because of that, he learned this recipe in about a week. He’s now an expert — not just in making them, but consuming them as well. “Basically a scone is not a brioche, not a bread,” says Hauchard. “The kind of texture is nothing we can compare to, to be honest, but it’s something we need to eat hot, a bit soft, and with clotted cream and jam of course.”
Watch the full video to see how the chefs at Claridge’s prepare the many other pastries served during afternoon tea.