Pumpkin Scones: Chocolate Chip or Cheesy!

Pumpkin Scones (Chocolate Chip or Cheesy)
This versatile (and Hallowe’en-appropriate) recipe was inspired by a batch of delicious pumpkin and chocolate chip cookies whipped up by my lovely friend James. I was trying to work out an unfussy recipe to use up the flesh scooped out of our obligatory Hallowe’en pumpkin, and this is it, as scones are so reassuringly easy to make. Cooking, mashing and draining the pumpkin is a bit of a faff, but it’s not difficult (and feel free to cheat and open a can of pumpkin puree.) This recipe can be made either sweet or savoury by adding chocolate chips or grated cheese. I couldn’t make up my mind so I made half sweet and half savoury, which is ideal for demonstrating the results here! (If you’re doing this, it is best to weigh and mix everything in separate bowls, rather than trying to divide it later when adding the cheese/chocolate. Lightly beat the egg in a separate dish and divide equally between the two mixtures).

I used fresh pumpkin flesh, cut into cubes and boiled for about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and mash with a fork – and you’ll need to drain it again. It is worth remembering that the weight of uncooked pumpkin after cooking, mashing and draining is roughly halved. You need 200g of mashed pumpkin for this, so start off with about 400g. If you’re using tinned pumpkin (and I don’t blame you), just use 200g straight from the tin.

200g mashed/pureed pumpkin – from a tin or fresh (please see note above).
225g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sweet mixed spice (for chocolate chip scones only)
Pinch of salt (for cheese scones only)
60g unsalted butter, cubed
60g soft light brown sugar (use only 1 tbsp for cheese scones)
1 large egg, lightly beaten – reserve 1 tbsp for glazing
100g milk chocolate chips (reserve 2 tbsp for the tops)
100g grated cheddar cheese (reserve 2 tbsp for the tops)

Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6. Line a large baking sheet.

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In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and spices (or salt). Add the cubed butter and rub it lightly into the flour using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, lightly beaten egg (reserve a tablespoon for glazing), and chocolate (or cheese!) all together. Remember to leave a couple of tablespoons of chocolate chips or cheese for the tops. Stir gently until you can’t see any dry bits, but avoid over-mixing. Scones are a bit like muffins – a few lumps here and there are beneficial.

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Scrape out the dough – it will be quite sticky – on to a well-floured surface. Pat it into a roughly 1-inch thick disc and cut out circles using a 2″ cutter, fluted if you like.

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Place the scones on a lined baking sheet, allowing a bit of room for expansion. Brush the tops with a little of the reserved beaten egg. Finish with a few extra chocolate chips pushed in gently, or a little sprinkle of cheese. Place in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack. These are just lovely split and buttered while still a little bit warm.

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