One of the major selling points of this book was it contained a letter from Queen Elizabeth to Presidents Eisenhower, written in 1960. Which included a recipe for drop scones that she had served him.
The book includes clear photos of the original letters and also a transcript of the letters, in case any of the handwriting is difficult to read. Additionally there is a paragraph giving the background to the letter.
Queen Elizabeth’s book is the first proper letter in the book (technically the first is a letter from Shaun Usher). It is amazing to see the Queen’s handwriting on Buckingham palace headed notepaper; I thought it would be fun to try to replicate her recipe. At first when I saw scones, I was thinking the type of scones you have with jam and cream. But another name for drop scones is scotch pancakes. They are denser than what , I would class as an English Shrove Tuesday pancake. More towards an American pancake hence why they may have appealed to the American president.
The recipe does not contain much method; it is mainly a list of ingredients, so google had to come in play for some of the method. Also google was needed because ‘our Liz’, did not seem to use scales. Instead in the recipe; ingredients are measured in tea cups. I do not own a tea cup. I have interpreted a tea cup as about 130g and therefore where a quarter of a tea cup was listed for sugar, I used 30g. For the milk where 2 teacups were required I used 350ml. The recipe also called for two tablespoons of butter, so I faithfully tried to scrape butter up from block with a spoon; my first attempt was more like a half spoon, so then had to scrape another half spoon. Probably just cutting about 2cm in from a block of butter along short side would have been about right.
When working out the quantities; I should have realised that the recipe was for 16 people. I’m afraid to say there was lots of waste. As there was no method I first tried, putting batter over whole pan like a normal pancake; that was a complete mess burnt in places despite not cooking in the middle as was so thick. I then read should be just a tablespoon for each scone ‘dropped’ in; clue may have been in the title! Even then I had issues getting middles cooked without burning the top and bottom. I was cooking in butter in a pan; some methods called for a griddle pan, so maybe that would help.
When cooked the drops scones should be quite spongy. I did not have cream of tartar, so I put in 3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda instead of 2. The bitternessc of the bicarbonate of soda was overpowering; I would say do not put more than a teaspoon of it in! I ended up adding more sugar to the batter to try and compensate. I then smothered in golden syrup – is that a British item or do you get it else where?
Not all the letters; give rise to such projects but, it is a good coffee table book to dip into; which gives glimpses into history. For example there is a letter from Queen Mary of Scotland, written in French their her brother the night before she was executed, a letter from Mark Chapman trying to sell the album John Lennon signed before later in the day Chapman shot him, a letter from Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol as regards as album design and many more!