1.Turn on the oven to 220°C/425°F and let it heat up. Spray a deep 22cm square cake pan with cooking oil.
2.Use a flour sifter to sift the flour and caster sugar into a large bowl; use your clean fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture.
3.Put the milk and the water in a medium jug. Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean open lengthways. Use a teaspoon to scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk mixture; throw away the bean.
4.Make a “well” in the centre of the flour mixture; pour in the milk mixture. Use a flat-bladed knife to slice (“cut”) through the flour mixture, mixing the ingredients together to make a soft sticky dough. Sprinkle a little flour onto a board; put the dough on the board. Knead the dough by gently pressing down on it with the heels of both your palms until it is smooth.
5.Press and shape the dough into a 20cm square. Dip a sharp knife into some flour; cut the dough into 16 squares. Place the squares in the pan so they are just touching each other. Use a pastry brush to brush the scones with a little extra milk. Put the pan in the oven and bake about 20 minutes or until the scones sound hollow when you tap them firmly on the top with your fingers. Take the pan out of the oven. Turn the scones out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool slightly.
6.Meanwhile, put the cream and half the sifted icing sugar in a small bowl; beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form (the cream will just hold its shape when dropped from a spoon).
7.Cut each scone through the middle. Put jam, strawberries and cream on one half; put the other half on top to make a “sandwich”. Sprinkle the rest of the sifted icing sugar over the top.
We use a mixture of milk and water for our scones. You can use all milk, which will give you darker scones. Or you can use all water, which will give you paler scones. Or you can use buttermilk, which will give you lighter, fluffier scones. To save time, the scone dough can be made in a food processor. Pulse the flour, sugar and butter until the mixture looks crumbly. Then add the milk and water and process until the ingredients just come together to make a soft sticky dough. It is fine to use just one 300ml carton of cream for this recipe.