I have learned a few tips over the years relative to baking. I was never very good baking. My pastries were always dry. The whole process was depressing. Then I started watching cooking shows and then my sister-n-law Roxanne gave me the Baking Illustrated cookbook. The book opened my eyes to the chemistry involved. The temperature of the kitchen plus the precise temperature and measurement of ingredients. There is a scientific method that unless you are in the know you will never find in a typical recipe.
Learning the art of making scones could be the first stepping stone to conquering fluffy biscuits and dare I say pastry crust. The key to scones, biscuits and pie crust is using cold ingredients and to handle the dough as little as possible. To do this the dry ingredients are whisked thoroughly as well as the wet before combining the two. You also want to keep the butter and milk in the refrigerator until it is time to add them. Now get out there and bake up some scones. Like these Pumpkin and Date scones. Yum yum!
I was attracted to the pumpkin and date part. I used butternut squash and dates but I think I prefer pumpkin and raisins better. There are two pumpkin scone recipes in this post. The first is an adaptation of Belinda Jeffery’s Mix and Bake by Pittsburg Needs Eated. I enjoyed the simplicity of the scone. No fuss. Just delicious warmth. The second connects with my more wild side that needs flavor to build on top of flavor producing a carnival ride of scrumptious delight.
Source: adaptation by Pittsburg Needs Eated
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup chopped pitted dates or dried cherries or cranberries
1 cup cold cooked mashed butternut squash or pumpkin
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly dust a sturdy baking sheet with flour or line with parchment paper; set aside.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, or rub the butter in using your fingers, until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
Add the dates tossing to coat with the flour mixture. Make a well in the middle. Whisk the pumpkin and buttermilk and pour into the well. Stir gently until just combined. This dough is sticky. If it is too sticky and you prefer using an ice cream scoop, place scoopfuls of mixture on prepared baking sheet 1-inch apart.
Otherwise, to cut the scones, tip mixture out onto a floured surface and dust lightly with flour. Gather dough together; pat into a 1 1/2 inch think round. Dip a scone cutter or a small tumbler into flour, then stamp out the scones, dipping the cutter into the flour between each one or cut the scones into triangles using a sharp knife dusted with flour.
Place the scones 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with cream, milk or egg wash (1 yolk to 2 tsp water).
Bake the scones for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Transfer to a large clean tea towel; wrapping them up in the towel to keep moist. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, serve the scones with butter.
Source: Morning Coffee and Tea
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pumpkin (if canned, be sure there are no spices or sugar added)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift together flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut cold butter into small pieces and cut into flour. Mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl mix together the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together (don’t overmix).
Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Shape or pat dough into a circle about 1 1/2 inches thick. Slice in half, and then cut each half into 3 equal pie-shaped wedges. Brush with egg glaze (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk), and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.
Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 6 scones.
Optional: Add white chocolate chips and/or chopped pecans.
Pumpkin Spice Butter
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
Combine all and mix till creamy.