23 October 2011

Pumpkin scones

I find it amazing how hyperpriced, underqualitied and overroasted beans can set the standard for coffee. Now it seems that purveyor sets the standard for pastries too.

As you can tell, I'm not their fan.

Time and time again I've heard people wax lyrical about said purveyor's red velvet cake and recently their cakepops. At this time of year, it seems as if their pumpkin scones have won lauds and honours from those accustomed to their wares.

I tried one. I found it absolutely amazing that a lead-like pastry coffined by icing so thick, that it bore more of a resemblance to an oversized Trivial Pursuit wedgie, could be as dry as sawdust.

This is considered to be an amazing scone? I'll just chalk that up with other opinions like Chef Boyardee is the best Italian food (yes, said by a guy I used to date), Combo Number 3B at that restaurant around the corner that gives you free fried rice with orders that cost more than $15 is what people really eat in China (unless you are in China and the resto around the corner really does have a Combo Number 3B), and edible oil products are just as tasty as real cheese or actual whipped cream.

Part of the issue is, I think, this obsession with encasing every baked good in icing. Cookies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins and scones. Heck...I wouldn't be surprised if pies and tarts get the frosted over. Oh wait...certain commercial Bakewell tarts have fallen victim.

It's gotten to the point that I think people honestly believe that a thick slathering of icing sugar held together by butter/ margarine/ shortening/ water/ lemon juice/ stuff I don't want to think about will absolve all evils of the baked good it smothers.

No. No it doesn't.

I fully realise we all have different ideas as to what a scone should be like--heck, people can't agree how to pronounce the word--but I'm of the belief that a scone should be light, tender, abundant with nooks and crannies to nestle in clotted cream, jam or butter...and uniced.

I also think its pronunciation should rhyme with "lawn" as opposed to "loan."

Maybe that's the other problem... Maybe what the ubiquitous coffee shop sells is a scone-rhymes-with-loan (would explain the price), and I'm looking for a scone-rhymes-with-lawn (heck, I have no airs...I'll eat my scone on a lawn).

With about a third of a cup of leftover pumpkin puree, from Thanksgiving baking, I decided to make some pumpkin scones-rhymes-with lawns. After looking at about half a dozen recipes, and referring to my favourite one by Tamasin Day-Lewis, I came up with this one.

I'm quite happy with these scones. They come together easily, are tender, lightly pumpkinny and not cloyingly sweet. Perfect warm with a bit of butter.

Pumpkin Scones

adapted from recipes by Tamasin Day-Lewis, Shoebox Kitchen, Baking and Books, Eggs on Sunday and Pinch My Salt

Yield 12 (with a 6.25cm/2.5" cutter)

100ml (0.33c+1Tbsp) yoghurt
75g (0.33c/85ml) pureed pumpkin
1Tbps (15ml) cream of tartar
0.5tsp (2.5ml) cinnamon
0.5tsp (2.5ml) ground ginger
0.25tsp (1.25ml) ground cardamom
0.25ml (1.25ml) ground cloves
0.25tsp (1.25ml) ground nutmeg
280g (2c/500ml) all purpose flour
1.25tsp (6.25ml) bicarbonate of soda
0.25tsp (1.25ml) salt
65g (0.33 c/85ml) sugar
55g (0.25c/60ml) very cold or frozen butter
50g (0.33c/85ml) dried cranberries
25g (0.25c/60ml) walnut pieces

milk, cream or eggwash
sugar or demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a baking tray with parchment or tin foil.

Mix together the yoghurt, pumpkin, cream of tartar and spices. Set aside.

Sift together the flour with the bicarb, then mix in the sugar and salt. Grate in the butter. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like a combination of coarse bread crumbs with some pieces the size of small peas.

Quickly fold in the yoghurty mixture and lightly knead into a soft spongey dough. Incorporate the fruit and nuts.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1.25cm (0.5") thickness and cut into rounds. Remove to the lined baking tray and let rise for 10 minutes

Brush the tops with milk, cream, or an egg wash made of an egg beaten with water and sprinkle the top with a little granulated or demerara sugar.

Bake for 8-12 minutes. The scones will have risen, the bottoms will be a medium golden and the sides will have firmed a bit.


  • Don't use pumpkin pie filling
  • If you don't have all the spices, change them as you will, or simply use 1.75tsp of pumpkin pie spice (though I'm not entirely sure what's in it)
  • Omit the fruit and/or nuts, or use what you think will work nicely
  • Of course...the number of scones you'll get is dependent upon the size of cutter you use.

I'm a quill for hire!


Donna said...

Loved your post and the receipe sounds yummy- can't wait to try the scones (I'm from MA I pronounce it by rhyming with loan -sorry)I will be using some leftover pumpkin from pumpkin pancakes I made the other day.

Kitchen Vignettes said...

This recipe looks wonderful, I was looking for a good fall scone recipes and this looks like the one, I'm glad I found your blog!

Wendy@The Omnivorous Bear said...

I agree with you in every respect about store bought cakey stuff (overpriced, over iced, faked butter and dull results) ....... Except the pronunciation of 'scone' :-) As every decent Brit will agree (apart from Southerners) it's 'skon' ;-)
Hahahaa! Your scones look lovely and I think I will try them.

Brandon said...

Hello! I just found your blog after reading canadianliving.com's article on ingredients food bloggers fear. I love the wit in your writing, which drew me to read more of your blog, and my favorite part about this post is your reference to Chef Boyardee! My cousin's father is a great cook, specializing in Italian foods. We got talking about our favorite chefs, and you know where this is going... his was Chef Boyardee. Anyways, I will definitely be back to read more of your blog, it was a pleasure!