Devon Flats and the Olympic Time Trials

You may have noticed that London is hosting the 2012 Olympics. I have the greatest respect for Olympians and sports people everywhere but sport tends to baffle and bemuse me in a similar way to calculus. I accept that it’s my loss. The only real exception for me  is cricket and even then I only enjoy the game when nothing much is happening.

On the other hand, since the Olympic Cycling Time Trials took place in Surrey and actually passed by about a 1 minute walk from my front door, I would have to be a serious curmudgeon not to take a look. Well, I may be a curmudgeon but I’m rarely serious.

I reckoned that I’d need sustenance to keep me going throughout the event. As I understood it (which is not very well), the cyclists in the time trial would set off at 90 second intervals, so I’d have to make something that I could eat in less than 90 seconds. That seemed to call for biscuits. Of course, it had to be British biscuits for patriotic reasons and so I baked some very traditional Devon flats.
Olympic Time Trials in Cobham
I’m not sure that the Time Trials turned me into a cycling fan but there was a relaxed party atmosphere among the spectators and everyone seemed to have  a great time. The biscuit plan, however, didn’t quite work. I made them too far in advance and they’d been eaten by the time of the event.

This is a very old recipe and I don’t think I’ve mucked about with it too much, although I do add a little baking powder which some traditionalists might consider a heresy. This will make around 24 biscuits, although that will depend on how thin you want to make them.
Devon Flats
250 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
120 g caster sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling on the biscuits
1 egg, lightly beaten
110 ml clotted or very thick double cream
A teaspoon or two of milk

Sieve the flour and baking powder together and stir in the sugar. Pour in the cream and the egg. Mix the whole lot together either with a wooden spoon or using a mixer on low speed. You want to end up with a soft but not sloppy dough and there's a chance that, once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, you will have a dough that’s a little too stiff. Add a teaspoon or two of milk to soften the dough if it needs it, but don’t overdo it.

Cover the dough and put in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. This stage is not essential but it’s a good idea to chill the dough to make it easier to handle. If there’s anything at all tricky in this recipe, then it’s rolling out the rather sticky dough. 

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Roll the dough out thinly on a floured board and cut out the biscuits using a 7 cm round cutter. Place on greased or lined baking sheets and sprinkle lightly with a little extra caster sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown on top. Cool the biscuits on a wire rack and store in an airtight container once cold.

Actually, I must confess that I also have a certain fascination with the Olympic  Human Don’t Be Angry finals but I can’t seem to find them in the TV guide.


  1. Great post. As a serious cycling fan I will definitely be trying this recipe out. Too late for the time trial so I will just have to eat them :-)

  2. 1 minute from your front door? V envious! The cycling looked fantastic on TV, as do your biscuits.

  3. Love the pics of the Olympics and these biscuits look like the perfect ones to have with a (good) English cup of tea! (I brought my own to Italy, I could't live without English tea now!).

  4. How lucky are you! I grew up with cycling as my brother raced both road and track - took me the longest time to get used to blokes with hairy legs!
    Next time there are Olympic Time Trails just a minute from your door I'll pop in for one of these biccies - I'll bring the tea if you like?

    1. I think it might be quite a while before we get another Olympic Time Trial rolling through Surrey. Although the Tour of Britain passes close to here in September and there's a move to bid for a stage of the Tour de France in Surrey. I'd better bake some more biscuits.

  5. We got delayed in traffic driving back from Sussex whilst that was all going is fun when it's on your doorstep...

    These biscuits look amazing so I planned to make them straight away for my husband who raids the biscuit tin nightly...then I read the recipe noticed the reason for the name...clotted cream and milk...I suppose a little bit of what you fancy does you good...and maybe we could take up cycling to burn the extra calories off!

    Thanks for sharing...

  6. ps love the amazing photos.


  7. Only one day to go then they are all over, here in Shanghai viewing has been to say the least sporadic, not that I am complaining
    I was looking for a good biscuit recipe this week, it's Valentine's Day here on 23rd August, no idea why, and I wanted to make a big batch of simple heart shaped biscuits, these will fit the the bill perfectly. Thank you, perfect timing..

  8. What a beautiful plate of biscuits - they all look perfect. I do like your plate too - I've always liked that range!

  9. One cannot do any better in life than have a newly batch of baked biscuits, and yours look just like the ones my gran use to bake....great photos too btw! Karen

  10. That's pretty exciting that you were able to watch one of the events without all the faff involved in getting tickets. I've missed large parts of the Olympics (including all of the road cycling) due to impractical time differences and only one freeview channel showing the Games so not being able to choose which sports to watch. Oh well. Those biscuits look scrumptious – I've yet to find clotted cream (or extra thick double cream for that matter) here, but if I ever do…

  11. The photos are great Phil. The biscuits look delicious, and I was given a small pot of clotted cream when I bought some things in a local garden centre yesterday - so will try them out later. Thanks.

  12. You've got to be kidding Phil - clotted cream biscuits? Never mind the cycling, I so want to try one of these.

  13. Great looking biscuits. They look very moreish - no wonder there were none left for the day !!
    Thanks for the recipe and great photos.

  14. Ah...the cookies of my childhood. I still remember sitting in our neighbor's kitchen rocker while she did the dinner dishes. She always let me have a cookie....much like these :)

  15. There's going to be a big Olympics-shaped hole in all our lives now for a bit, isn't there? I've just made some DIY creme fraiche, I wonder if that might work in these biscuits...

    1. I reckon that your DIY would do very well in these biscuits - it does need to be thick, though, or the dough gets too sloppy. I know I should be sad about the end of the Olympics but, to be honest, I'm so bored by all this sport that I'm thinking of locking myself in the garden shed for a while.

  16. Phil, my clotted cream will be coming out of the oven in another hour or so, and I'll be making these biscuits tomorrow. Look for them on the blog soon (minus any mention of sports of any kind, most likely).

    1. Well, I don't think I've been to a sporting event since but that's no reflection on the quality of the biscuits.


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