I write the Wisteria Tearoom Mysteries under a pen name, Patrice Greenwood. Like the heroine of that series, Ellen Rosings, I’m an Anglophile. I love British customs, and one that I especially enjoy is Elevenses.


Many Americans first heard the term uttered by an anxious (and hungry) Pippin in Peter Jackson’s film of The Fellowship of the Ring…”What about elevenses?” They are what they sound like: a meal–or more of a nosh–consumed at 11:00 a.m. or thereabouts. I suppose the American equivalent is the morning coffee break, with a donut.

I happen to be unenthusiastic about breakfast, as a general rule. I’m not hungry when I first wake, and don’t really get hungry until late morning. So for me, elevenses are the perfect way to break my fast.

On weekdays, I fire up the oven at 10:30, pull a couple (well, three, usually) scones out of my freezer, and bake them up. A little butter on the side, maybe one more cup of tea, and voila! Elevenses.

It’s easy because I make the scones ahead and freeze them. I use a 1″ diameter round cutter, so they’re small. (More crust!) My recipe is adapted to high elevation, and I’ve been tinkering with it, so it’s a little different now than when A Fatal Twist of Lemon came out, but it’s still a cream scone with currants.

5 thoughts on “Elevenses

  1. I like to have something handy to go with my first cup of coffee before breakfast — a scone, a muffin, a piece of toast. That is, I can’t wait for elevenses — I’m more for first breakfast, followed by second (and more substantial) breakfast.

    Lately, I’ve been making what we’ve taken to calling “scone biscuits,” because while they’re very close to scones, the texture is a little different. I’m using a basic drop biscuit recipe (from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything), and adding a little sugar along with some chocolate chips and nuts. BTW, drop biscuits with a little sugar in them (and with or without added ingredients) make a perfect base for strawberry shortcake. And they are so easy.

    1. Those sound good. I don’t like most American “scones” – I find them very heavy and overly sweet, usually.

      1. I’ve made some good whole wheat scones (we get wonderful heirloom flour) from a recipe by Martha Shulman, but I find it hard to get the consistency just right. Sometimes they’re too dry. Biscuits with goodies added gives me a good, light consistency and I can control the sugar, too. Also, they’re really easy. I like easy.

  2. When I worked at the Houses of Parliament (I love that I can say that, even if it was only a temp job that lasted six weeks) every morning at about 10:30 the tea trolley would wobble down our basement hall, and there would be tea and a biscuit (what my boss called a “bikkie,” a term I had never heard before or since). It made going back to typing up invoices and billing notices much more enjoyable. I don’t think the trolley ever offered scones; I would have been delighted if they did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *