Like making Victoria Sponges, it took me a long time and a lot of disappointing cream teas to finally crack the technique and feel confident that each batch of scones I made would come out exactly as intended. Light and fluffy and toweringly tall. Which my new Pumpkin Pie Scones definitely are!
As much as I love to bake and coming up with new and different sorts of sweet treats, it’s the basics which certainly my family appreciate the most. I must have made more scones than anything else for weekend mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick me ups than anything else. Hungry Hubby’s office buddies have also started requesting I make them batches of various flavours of scones to make getting through work a little sweeter too. I’ve spent quite a few mornings chuffing up scone dough before 8am so The Hungry One can bring an old orange box lined with a fresh tea towel and still steamy hot scones to his colleagues and I’ve loved every second of it. The folks on his bus to work must be a picture with the scent of fresh scones wafting down the aisle to them!
Being autumn, I thought I’d bring you a seasonal variation on the simple scone. This one has freshly steamed pumpkin in (or you could make use of a can of Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Filling), brown sugar for caramel sweetness and some pumpkin pie spice to indulge in seasonal eating. I use my Instant Pot to cook a little butternut squash but you can cook it on the hob or zap it in the microwave until soft if you prefer. It’s the closest relative to the squash variety used for canned pumpkin in the States. I got a bit excited and used some pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters to make mine but ordinary plain or fluted scone cutters are just fine.
If you love Hot Cross Buns or mixed spice in general, then you will love pumpkin pie spices, as they are very closely related. I normally go for butter or clotted cream plus a spoonful of jam when it comes to the eating of the scone (jam always going on top of the dairy for me!) but for these, I much prefer the bitter citrus tang of marmalade, although I do wimp out and go shredless. I’m not a big fan of large pieces of citrus peel in my preserves. My step mum introduced me to the notion of toasting day old scones and buttering them for breakfast, something I had never done before I knew her but now it’s a brilliant way to keep on enjoying your perfect homemade scones, as they are never better than 10-20 minutes out of the oven usually. Do let me know how you like to have your scones and especially do let me know if you give any of my recipes a try 😀
- 450 + 50g plain flour
- Fat pinch of sea salt
- 80g butter
- 80g soft brown sugar
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 100g steamed and puréed butternut squash*
- 2 large eggs
- 225ml buttermilk
- A large mixing bowl
- Digital scales
- A scone cutter approx 7.5 cm across (you can use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter if you like)
- A pastry brush (I prefer silicone ones to bristle ones)
- Preheat the oven to 220˚C and line a baking sheet with baking parchment or a reusable silicone liner.
- Clear off a nice big space on the worktop and give it a good scrub clean - you need a clear working space and it's easier to clean up after this way!
- Weigh out the 450g plain flour, stir in the sea salt and rub in the butter. Mix in the sugar then stir in the spice and baking powder.
- Rub in the butternut (see notes for how to cook it) and make sure it is well distributed, get out those lumps!
- Beat the eggs and buttermilk together then pour in all but about 4 tbsp worth into the flour mix. Use a large spatula to fold in the buttermilk, adding a little extra until you have a soft and sticky dough - you should have a couple of tbsp or so left which you will use later.
- Tip the extra 50g of plain flour onto the worktop. Scrape the scone mix on top of this extra flour and fold it over and over on itself, scooping up the flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Normally this takes 6-8 folds.
- Pat the dough out to 1.5-2 inches thick and use your scone cutters to stamp out 12 large scones. Place on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the reserved egg/buttermilk generously but don't let it drip down the sides.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until well risen, really brown and no longer doughy if you squeeze the sides gently.
- Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Best eaten on the same day (or toast them and serve with butter on day two).
- *= you can totally use some canned pumpkin if you have access to it. I cook my butternut in the Instant Pot for 10-12 minutes on Manual then allow to cool sat on a couple of pieces of kitchen roll to allow the moisture to evaporate. Then mash it with a fork and beat it to make sure it's nice and smooth. You can steam it in a sieve/colander over an inch or two of water in a saucepan on the hob but it will take about 20-25 minutes.
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