Candied Orange and Golden Raisin Empress Scones

This April I finally tried the famous Afternoon Tea at The Fairmont Empress in Victoria. I have tried afternoon tea at many different places including Butchard Garden, but the scones from all the Fairmont afternoon tea still ranked number one on my list. So what happens when you are alone and have a sudden urge of wanting to eat scones? You make it your self!

I made some candied oranges few months ago and wanting to use it for baking for a while. After hours of searching, I came across a recipe called “The Empress Scones” and it says it’s one of the recipes used for their afternoon tea. It was an eureka moment for me, I can finally have Empress Scones with the candied oranges I made!

Did you know? Scones and finger sandwiches are commonly served during high tea, also known as afternoon tea or low tea (traditionally served on low tables). Historically it is considered to be a ladies’ social occasion, even till this day it is more often enjoyed by women than men.

Legend has it that it started in the mid -1800s because the Duchess of Bedford found her self-being hungry during the long wait between meals. Back then, there were only two meals a day, mid morning and late dinner around eight or nine pm. The idea spread across high society and became a favorite pastime of ladies of leisure.

Candied Orange and Golden Raisin Empress Scones
Yields 29
Homemade candied orange soaked in Grand Marnier with sweet golden raisins is the perfect afternoon tea snack
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 2 ounces golden raisins
  2. Hot water (enough to cover the raisins)
  3. 1 ounces chopped candied oranges
  4. Grand Marnier (optional for soaking candied oranges)
  5. 1lb and 2 ounces all-purpose flour
  6. 4.5 ounces sugar
  7. 1 ounce baking powder
  8. Pinch of salt
  9. 4.5 ounces butter (hard)
  10. 2 whole eggs
  11. 1 egg white
  12. 8 ounces whipping cream
  13. ---------------------------
Egg wash
  1. 1 egg yolk
  2. ½ teaspoon water
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pour over just enough hot water to cover the raisins, keep it soaked for later use.
  3. Pour over just enough Grand Marnier to cover the chopped candied orange for later use.
  4. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Transfer some flour mixture into a food processor with chopped cold butter, pulse until it resemble wet sand and then pour it back to the flour mixture mix well.
  6. Make a well in the middle of the dough add in 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white. Draw dry ingredients over wet ingredients by hand until mixed.
  7. Drain the raisins and add to the mixture with soaked candied oranges, mix well.
  8. Make a well in the middle of the dough and add in about half of the whipping cream, keep adding until the mixture is sticky. It should not be too sticky (that means too much liquid) and it should not be separating (that means too much flour). You can always add in small amount of flour or whipping cream to get the desired result.
  9. Roll out the dough into 1/2-inch thickness (flouring the surface as needed)
  10. Cut into desired size and shape. Place them on a prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart from each other.
  11. Lightly beat the egg yolk with ½ teaspoon of water. Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the dough for a shiny finish.
  12. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden on top and brown on the bottom. Serve while it is warm with clotted cream and jam.
  1. Keep an eye out while baking. Add a baking mat if the bottom is getting brown too fast.
Adapted from Food
Adapted from Food
Clouds of Sweetness

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