Heat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200ºC, fan 180ºC. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar together in a large bowl, then rub the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the milk a little at a time, bringing the mixture together until you have firm dough. If you need to, add a splash more milk - the dough should come together easily and not need to be squeezed. Handle it as little as possible so it stays squashy.
Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and pat it into a circle about 1·5cm (¾in) thick.
Cut out the scones using a 5cm (2in) straight-edged cutter. For the cleanest edge, press the cutter firmly through the dough and twist slightly as you pull it back out.
Put the scones onto a nonstick baking sheet and brush the tops with the beaten egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Serve with butter, jam or strawberries and cream.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or filling. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a moderate oven.
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