Long, slow weekend mornings are my favorite - especially in the Fall when the air is cool and the light is soft and sleepy. Last weekend, we started off our days with Pumpkin Cranberry Scones and a huge sloppy cup of coffee (okay, in my case, it was a dainty little cup of pregnancy tea... sigh...). If all you've had is store bought scones that are hard and dry and crumbly and chalky, then you're missing out on the tender, pillowy-deliciousness of home-made scones. This recipe uses buttermilk instead of the traditional cream, which makes them lighter and softer and irresistible. And pumpkin - you know how I feel about pumpkin.
This weekend there will be no cool, comfortable mornings. The Santa Ana winds are here and it is hot, hot, hot. I'm miserably flopping around the house, slowly melting in the heat. This hateful weather is also ruining a lovely almond pie dough meant for some apples and cranberries as part of a dinner party tonight. Ugh. Soggy Cathy. Soggy pie crust. Southern California has strange weather.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
1/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans
1/3 - 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup fresh or canned pure pumpkin (not pie filling!)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 lg egg
1 Tbsp milk or cream
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling the tops of the scones
Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C) and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins and pecans, if using. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 11/2 inches thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle a little Turbinado sugar on top, if desired.
Place the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to prevent the bottoms of the scones from over browning. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 6 scones