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Father Brown Mystery series and Mrs. McCarthy’s Strawberry Scones

Father Brown Mystery series and Mrs. McCarthy’s Strawberry Scones

Father Brown is a BBC television mystery series based on books by GK Chesterton, starring Mark Williams.

It’s the 1950s, it’s in the English countryside, and it’s all about a progressive, mystery-solving Cathlic priest named Father Brown and his circle of parishioners, staff, and friends.

Father Brown…Murder, Mystery, and Strawberry Scones in the Cotswalds

Father Brown is set in the fictional Cotswolds village of Kembleford where, like most BBC cozy mysteries (Poirot, Marple, etc) there’s always a handful of colorful characters and a church at the heart of the community.

The strength of this series lies in the chemistry between cast members. There’s Mrs. McCarthy, Father Brown’s housekeeper and parish secretary who doesn’t like to gossip – but of course does. And who also bakes notable Strawberry Scones. These dainties are oft mentioned throughout the series, mostly by her, and almost always with the phrase award-winning attached to them.

A cast of characters, quirky and colorful

Other regulars include Lady Felicia (up until 2017) a beautiful socialite with a wandering eye, a terrific fashion sense, and romance writing aspirations.

Then there’s Sid Carter, Lady Felicia’s chauffeur and Father Brown’s partner-in-mischief – that his past is less than perfect is overshadowed by his mostly well-meaning deeds.¬† And of course there’s a police inspector – actually,¬† so far in five seasons, three of them.

Just recently Lady Felicia’s husband (who I don’t think has ever been spotted on the show) was transferred to Northern Rhodesia and the two have moved away creating an opening for a new character in the series.

Her name is Bunty. She’s Mrs. McCarthy’s carefree and rather un-straight laced goddaughter. A vivacious brunette with a penchant for bright red lipstick, she has the attitude and wit to match.

And then there’s ‘Flambeau’ a returning thief of the suave variety who appears on the show every so often to add a dash of intrigue, and to give Father Brown a shake-up. The two are often at odds, but somehow always manage help each other out.

Who doesn’t love a cozy mystery?

I’ve watched every episode of the Father Brown series and I can tell you that if you are a cozy mystery reader or watcher, you’ll love this show. Of course I could say if you watched Poirot or Miss Marple mysteries you would love it too, but then again, if you are such a person, you no doubt already do.

Pretty bucolic scenery, lots of cups of tea and biscuits (and scones) and a Priest with a refreshingly open mind. Enjoy!

To watch a trailer or clips from the Father Brown series, visit the BBC website:
BBC program  website

Award-Winning Strawberry Scones…pour the tea!

And below a Strawberry Scone recipe of which I made as I was inspired by Mrs. McCarthy’s character. The actual recipe is adapted from that of the King Arthur Flour website (link at bottom of post) – the company from whom I recommend purchasing all baking supplies as they are fabulous.

Mrs. McCarthy's Strawberry Scones (if they were real)

Yield: Depending on size, 10 - 18 scones

Mrs. McCarthy's Strawberry Scones (if they were real)

A scone made extra-crunchy by way of an easy glaze. This recipe is adapted from the King Arthur Flour recipe.

Ingredients

  • Scones:
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons half & half
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup fresh diced strawberries (in addition to the first 1/2 cup)
  • Glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat over to 375 F
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment (or lightly grease, or use silpat) and set aside
  3. Combine the first set of 1/2 cup of diced strawberries, sugar and half & half, in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder and whisk until blended.
  5. Work the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips or a pastry blender. The mix should resemble crumbly sand with uneven bits of butter.
  6. In a separate small bowl combine the blender strawberry and cream mix with the egg and vanilla - whisk until blended.
  7. Add this to the dry ingredients, mixing until the dough just comes together (don't over mix)
  8. Add the remaining 2/3 cup of diced strawberries, and fold into dough gently. The dough will be a bit sticky.
  9. You can either drop dollops onto your prepared pans (about the size of golf balls), or you can roll the dough out to 3/4" thick slab and cut them out using a ring pastry cutter (approx 2" ring or larger if desired) and place them on the pans.
  10. Prepare the glaze - stir sugar, vanilla, and water together until well combined, then drizzle or spoon and smooth over the tops of scones.
  11. Bake the scones about 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Test for doneness by breaking open a scone. If it's still sticky or gummy, they need to bake longer.
  13. Serve while still warm or cool completely before storing at room temperature.

Notes

I've also tried this recipe, halved, and with frozen mixed berries. It came out well, and the glaze really does make these special. With frozen berries, I ran water over them until they were no longer frozen, then drained well before using, and chopped.

NOTE: As part of the Father Brown mysteries series review, I'm including these scones as inspired by the character Mrs. McCarthy who is always bragging about her 'award-winning' Strawberry Scones. However, these are actually adapted from the King Arthur Flour recipe.

http://www.pepperwoodplace.com/2017/08/father-brown-mystery-with-strawberry-scones/

Mixed berry scones

Interested in visiting the King Arthur Flour website for more baking recipes, tips, and supplies? Click here:
King Arthur Flour

Interested in more English scones? How about Devon Cream Scones from the British National Trust Cookbook:
Devon Cream Scone Recipe