The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Murchie's Current Scones

Floydm's picture

Murchie's Current Scones

We just spent a weekend up in Victoria BC. 

As you can see, it was beautiful.  We had a great time.  I have a new obsession now though:

The current scones at Murchie's Tea & Coffee (on the right) were unbelievably good.  We had them with tea in the afternoon the day we got there and I had to go back to have another the next morning.  So light and totally different than the biscuit-like scones I am used to.  

I've been told that using cream that is already whipped and folding it into the dry ingredients is the secret to scones like these. I will figure out how to bake them or something very like them... oh yes, I will... and share my findings here.


arlo's picture

And that slice of elegant cake (?) is to die for as well.

When it comes to scones, I typically use all the ingredients at a very cold temperature and mix lightly and quickly. I end up with decent fluffy scones ready to be eaten with tea. Perhaps that bit of knowledge can help you out : )

Floydm's picture

Thanks, Arlo, I'll give it a shot!

The cake was a Marzipan tart of some kind.  Quite good as well.

SylviaH's picture

Your breakfast looks so delicious.  I have a weakness for scones and cream ones are my favorite..never tried whipping the cream though...which would become butter at some point.


wally's picture

That surely does not look like a biscuit and from your description it doesn't have the texture of one either.  If you do manage to reproduce it, please share Floyd!

I have worked with a pain au lait recipe where milk was beaten into oil to produce a thick mixture - certainly not like whipped cream, but lighter and thicker than just incorporating the two, and I was told the reaon was its contribution to a lighter crumb.  So you may be onto something as far as whipping cream and then folding it into the mixture.

The marzipan tart, by the way, keeps diverting my attention from the scone.


Floydm's picture

The Marzipan tart was excellent, just the whole world of pastry baking is still out of my realm.  A bread or a scone, however, I should be able to reproduce if I put my mind to it. 

I searched online to see if they posted their recipe or if someone else had an idea.  I found other folks looking for the same thing, but no recipe.

SylviaH's picture

be a Neopolitan with a marzipan topping?  Was it puff pastry inbetween layers or cake...I think it's a nice version of a Neopolitan, maybe!  It does look delicious, too!


Floydm's picture

I don't recall.  I was too absorbed with the scone.

plevee's picture

It looks more like a sweet bun than a scone. Patsy

Floydm's picture

Yes, it tasted more like the saffron buns I like to make.  Was it yeasted?  I don't think so, but perhaps it was.  I've never tried making scones w/ heavy cream so I'm going to give that a shot and see if it comes out anything like it.

Floydm's picture

The more I think about it the more likely I think it was indeed yeasted.

LindyD's picture

I've only tried scones once, and the one I had was so dry and awful that I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to eat them.

Are they supposed to be so dry?

If you come up with a scone recipe that's edible, would love to give them a try in my own kitchen.

dstroy's picture

The marzepan slice was mine - I had the same thought about scones, which is why I didn't go for one that first day. The scone that Floyd had, however, was amazing - completely blew my concept of scones out of the water. The next morning, I got a cheese one when he went for the current one again, and it was amazingly good.

sephiepoo's picture

Cream Scones

Floyd, would this be something similar to what you were mentioning, with the whipped cream being folded in, etc?

I've often made scones with butter and heavy cream, and with half and half, but never with cream that's already been whipped.  It looks like an interesting recipe!

(If it helps, I Googled "scones fold whipped cream" or something)

RobynNZ's picture

Hi Floyd

I was based on Vancouver Island '94 -'95 and always bought my coffee beans and tea at Murchie's, the spoon in my coffee canister is from there. Sadly I never ate a currant scone - I liked their sandwiches. I did take visitors to the Empress shown in your top photo for afternoon tea sometimes. I loved living in Canada, but I arrived just as winter started and left at at the end of the summer - fancy living in Canada and missing autumn! 

I write because it seems to me from the photo that the 'scone' looks more like what we call a cream bun and having taken a look at your saffron bun photo/formula think that might be a good one to adapt.

Over here there is a very popular scone recipe (which is frowned on by traditionalists), it features a 300ml bottle of cream (38% milkfat here), a 355ml can of lemonade (your sprite/7-up) and 4 cups self raising flour, pinch of salt. Mix together lightly til flour just wet. On to bench and gather to a rectangle to cut. 220°Ç about 10 minutes. The scones made from this recipe are very light, the trick is minimum handling. It is the only 'bread' recipe I am familiar with that contains cream rather than butter. It would be interesting to see the result of cream in your saffron bun formula.

Looking forward to the results of your experimentation!

Did you get to Butchart gardens?

Regards, Robyn

Floydm's picture

Weird.  I'll have to try that some time.  Thanks!

We did not go to Butchart this time.  We've been there before and it is beautiful, but we found plenty to see in the inner harbor area.

Franko's picture

Hi Floyd,

Well if I'd known you were coming to Vancouver Island for a visit I could have given you a list of great bakeries and restaurants to check out. My wife and I live in the mid Island area but we try to get down to Victoria a few times a year for a weekend getaway. One of the first things we usually do is go directly to the Italian Bakery on Quadra St. and buy all their raspberry crostada slices. I love their olive buns and whole grain sour breads as well. Victoria has become such a good city for dining out compared to what it was  20 years ago that it's attracting a lot of very talented food professionals to it. The big draw for them from a professional standpoint seems to be the year round availability of fresh seafood, as well as organic meats, and produce from nearby Cowichan Valley. Here's a link to a very good B.C. food magazine that has a large focus on the Vancouver Island food scene if you're interested in finding out more about what's happening in our region.

As for Murchie's current scones I have a couple of theories. My first is that they may use an emulsified high ratio type cake shortening in them to achieve that lightness you describe. The emulsifier allows better dispersion of the shortening which in turn allows a larger amount of sugar and/or liquid incorporation when used with a low protein pastry or cake flour. I tend to think that using heavy cream would be cost prohibitive for this particular item  Just a theory mind you. The other is that they may use a small percentage of yeast along with the chemical leavener, again using a low protein flour.

I'm really glad you enjoyed your stay on Vancouver Island and hopefully you'll be back again soon to discover more of what we have to offer.

All the best,


PS Thanks so much for creating and maintaining TFL as the best site on the web for all of us baking enthusiasts.

Floydm's picture

We were there for a very short time.  Murchie's was great, we had wonderful Salt Spring Island mussels, and we got a kick out of having tea at the James Bay Tea Room.   We'll be back again before long, I'm sure. 

teketeke's picture

I also love to have the scone recipe too.  And, I love your pictures that is very beautiful.

Happy baking,


SylviaH's picture

Now that I think about it I think this may be their version of the 'Sally Lunn Bun'..

Added:  Or there is also 'The Bath Bun'  it has currants, sugar..'Sally Lunn, can be garnished or sweet or savory.

Interesting story/history about the Sally Lunn Bun to read. 

       you could always use some whipped cream and try it in this recipe.

Sally Lunn Bun   - version- recipe-  This is a recipe I googled.  I do question the oven temperature...was listed as Farenheit

50 g butter

300 ml milk

1 tsp sugar

15g fresh or 1/2 tsp dried yeast

2 Eggs - regular

450g bread flour

Melt butter remove from heat add milk and sugar, add yeast, until frothy if regular yeast is used, or mix right away if using fresh.  Beat eggs and add flour with salt.  Mix to form soft dough.  To soft to knead.  Beat 2-5 min.

Pour into 2 greased 12.5 cm cake pans.

Cover until doubled.  About 1 2/2hrs.  Bake in oven 220F for 20-25 min.



lynnebiz's picture

This might be it. Sad to say, I can't take the honors of inventing this technique - I watched it on an episode of America's Test Kitchen. They said to freeze the butter, then grate it before you mix it in with your premixed dry ingredients, along with using sour cream, too. Never tried the recipe - I didn't even think of searching for it online (duh!), but I did use frozen butter that I grated in another recipe, and the scones came out very tender & flaky.

Through the magic of google, I found a video here from the original show and also, the recipe - (you have to give an email address for the recipe, but you get instant access). They used blueberries, just substitute, if you want. Also, I would think that if using dried fruit, it could be incorporated in with the dry ingredients when mixed, instead of patting it on top of the dough, like they did w/the blueberries.

Also, remember, with scones, you'd use an AP flour - and not to bring up the controversy of bleached vs unbleached that's been going on in another thread, Rose Beranbaum (author of "The Cake Bible") says that bleached is the way to go for everything in the cake family (that would include scones). I'd say regular AP. She's as geeky about baking as I am, and, I think, everyone else is here on TFL  - even wrote her thesis about baking cakes when she was in college - I love that, and I wasn't able to bake a cake that wouldn't double as hockey pucks before I got one of her books (and started reading her blog, too).

Hmmm - I wonder if using cake flour in scones would make it all the more tender - when I'm up to the challenge, maybe I'll make two batches, one with AP, the other w/cake flour, just to see.

grind's picture

I agree that frozen butter is the way to go.  Everything else cold.  I use the food processer to mix the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.   Pulse.  Then I fork mix in the buttermilk/egg mixture until it barely comes together.  Then form quickly.

jyslouey's picture

This was a trick I learnt from the baking school and it does help esp with the hot weather here in HK where the butter practically melts after you've rubbed everthing into the flour. But with a grater you end up with bits of butter stuck to the grater. I've never tried mixing it with a food processor as I find it easier to use my hands and save on the washing up afterwards.  I even try leaving my flour in the fridge so that everthing is nice and cool.

lynnebiz's picture

... mine broke awhile ago, so my brain is always on the alternative, lol. It's much better to use a fp for stuff like scones, pie crust, etc. - esp anything that would get ruined w/the heat from hands.