I can tell you all about my busy weekend and how fun it was not getting much work done. How nice it was to spend Sunday cruising around the San Francisco Bay with good friends on their boat with front and center views of the America’s Cup World Series regatta and the Blue Angels with a million other spectators. I can also tell you that by Monday, the bug that had been threatening to take me down won the battle by forcing me to stay home from work. But all I really want to talk about are these scones.
Who knew pumpkin and cheese would go so well together? It was pure chance that led me to the discovery:
A craving for scones + leftover pumpkin purée + a block of sharp cheddar cheese = magic.
I like to combine sweet and salty elements in food and they didn’t disappoint here, though I was concerned (as I usually am when experimenting with baking) about the proportions of ingredients I was using. I wanted to use up as much of my leftover pumpkin purée as possible and I had the idea that adding cheddar would make the scones less one-dimensional, but how much should I add?
I proceeded with caution. I left behind some of the pumpkin purée and went the safe route with the cheddar, adding only one cup (loosely packed). In the end, the amount of pumpkin and eggs I used to bind the batter wasn’t quite enough so I ended up adding milk but you know what? It worked anyway. In fact, I wouldn’t change a thing here. The effect on the final product was subtle rather than obvious. The fragrant scones are crisp on the outside and soft with pockets of melted butter on the inside. The cheese added a bit of sharpness, just enough to know it’s there. I tested one right out of the oven and before I knew it I had eaten three!
I liked these guys so much they might be making an appearance on my Thanksgiving table this year. One batch makes just under 20 2-inch scones but I have a feeling they’ll be gobbled up fast. Okay, that was a bad pun but seriously, try these.
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ + ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ cup cold butter, cut in cubes
- ¾ cup pumpkin purée
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup milk plus more for brushing scones
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (see note below).
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Work in the butter using a pastry cutter until the mixture is a little crumbly. You can use your hands, too, to distribute the butter a little better but unevenly crumbly would be okay. Stir in the grated cheese.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and 2 eggs until the mixture is smooth then add to the dry ingredients and stir together. At this point the mixture will seem dry with a bit unincorporated dry ingredients. Add ⅛ cup of the milk then stir together again. I ended up adding the other ⅛ cup milk and combined the dough with my hands (in the bowl using a kneading motion). The mixture will be moist and stick to your fingers if you used the entire ¼ cup milk. This is okay.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface. Bring the dough together into a round and flatten with your hands until the dough is roughly ½ - ¾ inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut a piece of the dough and transfer onto your lined baking sheet. I was able to get 19 pieces by reshaping the scraps of dough and using it until it was all gone.
- Brush the tops with a little milk and bake in the oven for 11 - 13 minutes or until the scones are golden.
- Serve warm.