Along with apple pie and pumpkin pie, pumpkin scones are one of my autumnal must-bakes. I crave them every fall when the first frost approaches. Thankfully, unlike pies, these scones come together in less than an hour, making them the perfect cozy baking project for chilly mornings or when you just want the aroma of warm spices filling your kitchen.
These pumpkin scones are based on the scone recipe in my book, with a few subtle tweaks. Pumpkin puree obviously makes up a decent portion of the liquid; so I add a bit more butter to compensate for the lower fat content of pumpkin vs. cream or sour cream. I also like using crème fraîche for tangy richness, which I usually have on hand for making pumpkin pie. But if you don’t have any, simply replace it with an equal weight of heavy cream. (By the way, you can easily make your own crème fraîche by combing 1 Tbsp of buttermilk with 1 c of heavy cream and letting it sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours, or until pleasantly tangy and thickened. Store in the refrigerator.) Add a generous amount of autumnal spices and you’ve got yourself a winner!
You can keep the scones plain, but I like adding some texture with toasted pecans and chocolate chips. Swap in any nut you like, or sub in some dried cranberries or a different type of chocolate. (I also think this would make a great savory scone if you cut the sugar in half, played around with the spices, and added some cheese and/or chopped herbs!)
I’ve kept the sugar content of the actual scone fairly low because I like to double down on both coarse sugar and a glaze for topping. The coarse sugar adds wonderful texture and the glaze gives just the right amount of initial sweetness and visual impact. Trust me, using both won’t make these scones too sweet!
For the pumpkin scones:
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 63g spelt flour (or substitute another whole-grain flour, or more all-purpose flour)
- 30g granulated sugar
- 30g light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 113g chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 80g crème fraîche, cold
- 120g pure pumpkin puree, cold
- 1 large egg, cold
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 85g pecans, toasted and chopped
- 85g semisweet chocolate chips
- Milk or cream, for brushing
- Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
For the creme fraiche glaze:
- 60g icing sugar, sifted
- 2-3 Tbsp cremè fraîche
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) with a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugars, baking powder, salt, and spices.
- Add the cold, cubed butter to the dry ingredients and cut it in using a pastry cutter or your fingers. You should have varying sizes of butter pieces, ranging from pea to nickel shaped.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and gently fold in with a spatula until just combined. The dough should be a bit shaggy, but should hold together.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to bring it together. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch (30-cm) square. Flour the dough and pin just enough to avoid sticking.
- Brush off any excess flour. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter, rotate 90 degrees, then fold in thirds again so you have a 4-inch (10-cm) square. Transfer to a baking sheet or plate and freeze for 10 minutes.
- After chilling, return the dough to your lightly floured surface. Roll it again into a 12-inch (30-cm) square. Sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips evenly over the dough, then roll it up like a jelly roll. Turn the dough so the seam side is down, then gently pat it into a 12 x 4-inch (30 x 10-cm) rectangle. If the dough feels soft or sticky at all, freeze for 5 to 10 minutes to make it easier to cut.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into four
equal pieces, then cut each piece on the diagonal to create 8 triangular scones. Cut straight down to preserve the layers and help the scones rise evenly in the oven. Transfer scones to the prepared baking sheet and freeze while the oven finishes preheating.
- When the oven is ready, brush the tops of the scones gently with milk or cream and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the tops and bottoms are golden brown. Cool on a wire
rack for 10 minutes before glazing.
- To make the crème fraîche glaze, whisk together the icing sugar and 2 Tbsp of crème fraîche until smooth. Add more cremè fraîche as needed, a teaspoon at a time, to form a drizzle-able glaze. Drizzle the scones with the glaze and let set for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Scones are best freshly baked, but you can store them well wrapped at room temperature for a few days. Reheat for 5 to 10 minutes in a 350°F (175°C) oven. You can also freeze scones unbaked and bake them straight from frozen (you may need to add a few minutes of baking time).
- Crème fraîche can be substituted with heavy cream.
- Be sure to use pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- If you find that the bottoms of your scones tend to get too dark, try stacking an extra baking sheet underneath.
- The above recipe makes enough glaze to drizzle each scone as pictured. If you prefer more glaze, make 1.5-2x the amount.