Pumpkin Scones

The weather has finally snapped here in Los Angeles, and by snapped, I mean nights and mornings now dip into the 50s even if the days still go up into the high 70s. I know, I know, but those chilly nights and mornings are so crucial. They are also exactly what I needed to get back in the kitchen after my tortilla nightmare.

Well, that and my new cookbook, Tender by Nigel Slater, which I am absolutely and completely in love with. So much so that I would like to take you on a mini book tour. I’m ready whenever you are. Shall we?
Since purchasing the book on Thursday, I've bookmarked five recipes, bought ingredients for two, and attempted the savory pumpkin scones—a recipe that seemed absolutely fated for me. Not only is it high-pumpkin season, but the recipe called for beginning the baking process in a frying pan, flipping the partially baked disc onto a dinner plate and then sliding it back onto the pan to cook the other side. Ring a bell? And if so, do you believe in second chances?
This time, however, I would not be fooled. I chose a small cast iron pan I could lift with ease and, as it turned out, this made all the difference. Sure, it was messy and sure, we left some batter on the dinner plate, but all in all, we flipped that sucker!
Slater says to serve the scones with bacon and a slice of Cheddar sharp enough to make your “lips smart.” I forgot about this during my aforementioned ingredient shopping, but I did have a sad-looking bag of pre-grated cheddar. So, before the last minutes of its baking time, I pulled the pan from the oven, sprinkled the lightly set batter with shredded Cheddar and put it back in for a few minutes until it melted. When we flipped it again onto a plate, the cheese became the (pretty cool) bottom layer.
I’m not lying when I say that this scone made my Sunday. Though its texture hardly reminded me of any scone I’ve ever eaten before. It’s so moist from all that pumpkin that the center is more like that of mashed potatoes. The delicate flavors, however, are where its scone-ness really reveals itself. It’s slightly pumpkiny, a bit buttery and a bit “floury”—a word Slater uses to describe it, which I didn’t think much of when I first read it, but now realize is completely accurate. Oh, and then there are these occasional bursts of thyme. It tasted like autumn. And in this season-less city, that’s worth its weight in gold.

A warm pumpkin scone for a winter's afternoon via Tender by Nigel Slater
peeled and seeded pumpkin - 10 1/2 ounces [We don't have a scale and guesstimated 1 cup of steamed and puréed pumpkin. As you can see, this worked out really, really well for us!]
all-purpose flour - 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
baking soda - half a teaspoon
salt - half a teaspoon
butter - 5 tablespoons
an egg, beaten
warm milk (All we had was almond milk and it worked fine!) - 6 tablespoons
thyme leaves - 2 teaspoons
a little oil or butter

Cut the pumpkin into large chunks and steam until tender enough to mash. Preheat the oven to 400.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks and rub it in with your fingertips. You could do this in a food processor, but it hardly seems worth the washing up. [I would agree, Nigel!]

Crush the pumpkin with a potato masher, then beat in the egg, followed by the milk and thyme leaves. Scoop this into the flour mixture and mix well. Season with black pepper.

Warm a heavy, nonstick frying pan with a metal handle over low to medium heat. [Should be noted that I used a small (8-inch) cast iron pan as this doesn't make a massive amount of dough.] Melt a little oil or butter in it, then pile in the dough, and smooth it flat. Cook over low heat until the underside is pale gold. 

Lightly oil a dinner plate. Loosen the underside of the scone with the help of a spatula. Put the plate over the top of the pan, then, holding the plate in place, tip the pan so that the scone falls onto the plate. Slide the scone back into the frying pan and cook the other side for four or five minutes. Put the pan in the oven for seven minutes, or until the scone is lightly set in the middle. 

Turn the scone out of the pan and slice into thick wedges. Serve warm, with cheese or some grilled bacon.
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Matthew said...

This was super good, but word to the wise: this is not a sweet scone in anyway, no sugar, no nothing. This is the sort of scone you'd have with a steak.

Jessica said...

Your version is GORGEOUS! Why is the version in the book so orange, while yours if yellowish -- his looks slightly unnaturally bright, no?

themoveablefeasts said...

Oh yay and I love Sundays because that means a bon appetempt update. :) These look great, I like how they're a bit different. And I've been meaning to buy that book by Nigel Slater... you've just convinced me!

la domestique said...

Oh I've been dying to get this book for so long and you are pushing my need to have it over the edge. I'm also thinking your nail color is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Moveable Feasts, I look forward to Sunday nights for your posts every week! Wonderful pictures as always, and as a fellow Angeleno those chilly nights are to be savored. Tender is now on my cookbook list.

Kelsey (Happyolks) said...

love love love LOVE this book! I just ran and showed this to Shaun, because I've literally been talking about making these exact scones since last week.

James said...

I also love Tender (both volumes), but did not notice this recipe, so I'll have to add it to my "must tries".

Mary Anne said...

I LOVE Sundays because of Bon Appetempt posts, and I LOVE your nails. What a color!!

These scones seem so unusual and delicious! Good idea with the melted cheddar layer!

jeana sohn said...

i want to have a bite of the photo no2. looks beautiful too.

Heather Taylor said...

want the book, want the scone, want the stoop!

Neal said...

I assume this meal also provided Matt an opportunity to make "Matt's famous roasted pumpkin seeds."

amelia said...

@Neal you know us too well!! what remains of Matt's special seeds are in a bowl on the kitchen table as I type this.

@those who mentioned the color: Yes, Nigel's are definitely a nice, bright orange. I suspect this is because he used a perfect little pumpkin from his vegetable patch, whereas Matt (no offense!) bought a huge pumpkin from a chain grocery store in hopes to collect as many seeds for his aforementioned "special seeds." That is my best guess... If you guys have other ideas, please let me know!

In other news, I just had a scone for lunch and it was just as good as I'd remembered from 24 hours ago! You guys must make this asap!

LD1 said...

Hello...who cares about the scones, your nails look awesome. I seriously cannot wait to try this recipe. Just cannot get enough pumpkin or squash right now. Super excited for a scone that taste more like mashed potatoes. Love Nigel Slater too. Have you seen "Toast" yet? It was in and out of theatres so fast, maybe there is an art house in LA still playing it. I'm totally going to bon appetempt this entry, starting by painting my nails then cooking.

sg said...

the book looks very special - i like the title a lot. and mmmmm that is exactly what i want right now.

culturafemenina said...

Nice post...Tu receta me viene como anillo al dedo… la semana pasada compramos los pumkins para la decoración de halloween y el fin de semana mientras los cortábamos nos dimos cuenta que estaban un poco maduros para la decoración y decidimos cortarlos y hornearlos con un poco de azúcar morena y aceite de oliva. Deliciosos…pero es tanto que estaba buscando en el internet algunas ideas y mira…te garantizo que esta es la cena de esta noche…ya te contare el resultado.

Marsha and Mark said...

The beautiful scones would go perfectly with the fall leaves we can see out our window. They look and sound delicious! We love Bon Appetempt!

Neal said...

This is totally obvious, but your photographer has been on a Calvin Johnson-esque run of late.

Also, I want some seeds!

Matthew said...

Thanks Deuce, I want to see more of YOUR photography!

This batch of seeds is spent; however, I'm sure I'll be making more. When I do, I'll save ya one of my patent pending "sac-o-seeds."

Meg said...

Oh wow!
Sounds phenominal and the photos are beautiful! I may have to try this. I adore your blog. Keep writting.

Meg Slater

the actor's diet said...

my cast iron skillet is begging me to make this!

amelia said...

Hi friends!

Forgot to mention a few things.
1. Since we don't have a scale, we totally had to guess with what 10.5 ounces of pumpkin looked like. Once, it was steamed and puréed, 1 cup looked about right. And since it turned out so well, I would definitely say 1 cup works.

2. The nail color is vermillionaire by Essie.

OK, byyyye!

Anonymous said...

In relation to how much pumpkin is in 10.5 ounces, and having (a few years ago) roasted an 18 pound pumpkin with overly ambitious plans to eat all of it, I can tell you that a pumpkin usually yields a cup per pound. This might have resulted in your "mashed potato" like center, but it sounds as if the consistency is right where you want it, so don't change it!

Natalie of Fashion Intel said...

Whoa, this looks rad! Scones with coffee or tea is perfect for this cold L.A. weather we're finally getting!

booklovercook said...

Oh my goodness, this looks divine. That cookbook has been on my list to buy since it came out...I have to get on that! For now, I will content myself with making this recipe immediately if not sooner. Thank you for sharing!

Sunday Taylor said...

Amelia, I have this gorgeous book and I will be making these scones as soon as possible! They look so delicious. And now I have all your tips and great pictures to help me through the process. Thank you!

Rachel said...

yum. as a recent CA transplant, it's nice to know it's possible to experience the change of seasons in some fashion!

Kevin said...

What an amazingly beautiful blog.

Jim said...

These scones seem so unusual and delicious

Heide M (TM) said...

I'll have to try this.