It’s funny to write about vegan cheese scones a month out from the Great Eketahuna Cheese Festival (Sunday 26 – Monday 27 May 2019).
It’s a post that’s been gently lapping around me for a couple of months sparked by a comment made by work friend. He was raving about a faux-meat carpaccio he’d at a vegan restaurant in Melbourne.
I was stunned. I knew he liked cheese, but raw meat? Sheesh that’s hard for most meat-eaters to conceptualise, but for a vegan? So it was with trepidation I asked, do you like eating meat?
Hell yeah, he said, I like the taste of meat, I just don’t like the cruelty.
That sentence has stuck with me and got me thinking about vegan cheese. Would I use it? Could I make a decent-enough vegan cheese scone? Everyone loves a cheese scone, except a vegan that is, and, as it turns out a strict halal person.
So it was time to experiment with my trusty cheese scone recipe and translate it to vegan.
Luckily vegan cheese is not low fat. This is important as there’s no butter or oil in my recipe and it relies on cheese for fats. Also vegan cheese needs help caramelising, so I upped the sugar a little. I also added vinegar to the almond milk as the scones need cheddar’s acid tang and extra cayenne to oomph up its cheesy punch.
Don’t worry my cheesey friends, I’m not going vegan. But this has got me thinking about being more choosey with dairy. It is a privilege not a right and industrial dairy has a big environmental and animal welfare impact. Maybe one day when it gets better I may even swap my big block cheese.
Though this is a quick and easy recipe there is a trick to a great scone. So here are here are my tips, collected from my mum and many friends over the years.
Tips for scones
1 Heat the oven – it must be hot
2. Preheat the tray – put it in when you turn the oven on.
3. Add all the milk at once – it should be a wet rather than a dry mixture
4. Mix quickly by making slicing actions with a knife, just enough to bind together. Don’t over mix.
5. Touch the mixture as little as possible and get it into the oven asap after mixing the milk in.
Vegan cheese scones
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 pinches cayenne pepper
2 cups grated vegan cheese
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 220º C. Put the tray in to heat.
Add the vinegar to the almond milk, stir and put aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper into a bowl. Mix in cheese. Make a well in the centre.
Check you have a clear bench with flour on it, the oven is fully heated. You want the scones to go into the oven as soon as possible.
Add the milk, mix quickly with a knife. Turn out onto a floured bench and quickly shape into a 3 cm thick rectangle. Cut into 8 and put on to your floured, hot tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes. You’ll smell them as they get ready.