I remembered the first time I made scones. That was for a domestic economic class at secondary school back in Singapore. It was terrible. It was so hard so all my classmates laughed at me and called them rocks. No one ate any of it. They all went straight into a bin. I was traumatised by the incident and can remember it vividly. This is a real mental challenge for me. I want to do it well so badly.
There was an episode on Masterchef Australia contestants have been critised for not being able to bake a basic scone. I watched that episode with a lot of sympathy for the contestants. They were placed in a space where it is not conducive for baking and I am sure that it was not easy to work and bake under pressure. But one could understand why the general public would expect a lot more from the top 10 amateurs chefs in Australia. So what does my scones have to do with this? I just needed your sympathy as the scones did not turn out the way I want them to be. Pressure! Don’t be harsh on me please.
I followed this recipe quite religiously from my very first brand new baking book, Mix & Bake by Belinda Jeffery. This book was recommended by several twerps and it arrived in time for the weekend.
I wanted something a little more savory. Pumpkin scones seemed like a good idea at that time. I had the idea of making chorizo and eggplant relish to compliment it but that got thrown out of the window at the time of execution. Didn’t think it would work but who knows. Might have to try it one day to find out.
I used butternut pumpkin and butter Warrnambool butter. You can get this butter from Queen Victoria market.
I was really indecisive about the tomatoes as it isn’t in season yet. These are hydroponic ones from the farmers market.
Spiced pumpkin scones (Adapted from mix & bake)
- 450g of plain flour
- 55g of castor sugar
- 1tbsp baking powder
- 3/4tsp bicarbonate soda
- 3/4tsp salt
- 120g of cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1cup of cold cooked mashed pumpkin
- 180ml of buttermilk
- 11/2tsp of ground cinnamon
- 11/2tsp of ground ginger
- 1tsp of cloves
- 1/4 grated nutmeg
Sweet tomato jam (the food of morocco)
- 1.5kg of ripe tomatoes
- 3tbsp of olive oil
- 1 onion (coarsely grated)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 tsp of black pepper
- 3tbsp of tomato paste
- 2-3 tbsp of honey (according to taste)
- 11/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
Spiced pumpkin scones
- Spilt the pumpkin in half lengthway. Scoop out the seeds and place it cut side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Pop tray into a 180C oven and allow it to bake until soft. Usually takes about an hour
- Allow it to cool. Then peel off the skin and mash the pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 200C. Prep your baking tray with flour or line with baking paper
- Put flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, salt and spices into food processor and whiz for about 20secs. Add butter chunks and whiz until it looks like breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, then place all dry ingredients into a big bowl, balloon whisk for about a minute. Then add butter and use fingertips to rub. Lift hands to help aerate the mixture
- Make a well. Whisk buttermilk and pumpkin and add into well. Stir everything gently but quickly until they all come together (This is a very important stage. Do not overwork it! This is where Masterchef contestant, Aaron, did not do well)
- Pat the dough out into 4cm thick. Dip the cutter into flour and stamp out the scones. Roll the scrapes back and stamp out more scones. You can also cut into triangles
- Sit the scones closely together on the tray. To finish off, you can either dust the tops lightly with cinnamon and flour, brush sparing with milk for a full golden glaze or with egg yolk beaten with little milk for a shiny one
- Bake the scones for 20mins (I checked at 18mins). When they are ready, wrap them immediately with a cloth to keep them moist. Let them sit for 5 mins and then serve!
Sweet tomato jam
- Halve the tomatoes, squeeze out the juice and then coarsely grate. Discard the skin. Set aside
- Heat olive oil in low heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and tomatoes. Season with 1/2tsp of salt
- Simmer, uncovered over medium heat for about 40 – 50mins. Make sure most liquid is gone, stir often when sauce is thickened. When oil begins to separate, stir in the honey and ground cinnamon and cook on low heat for another 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt
There was no initial intention of taking this shot. I took this first shot first and then remembered a cool illustion trick from Almost Bourdian.
So this is just for fun. Still very amateurish. Will think of something cooler next time.
This is how I did it! What else can you think of?
I should have used taller cutters but I only have shallow cookie ones. I should have read about cutting the dough into triangles. Bummer! But I am quite please that it did raise a fair bit and I did not burnt any bottoms. The oven and I are slowly becoming friends. And also I learnt to place another tray below to try and distribute the heat a little better as my oven temperature fluctuates.
I am not sure if I really liked the pumpkin scones with the sweet tomato jam but Mister actually liked it. I was quite surprised. I preferred it with quince jam.
This incident did not turn out the way I envisaged it to be. It’s back to the drawing board for me. I am sure the rest of my fellow party people will have done a much better job. Also HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my 2 co-host, Cherrie of Sweet Cherrie Pie and Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey.
Please click on the thumbnails below to check out what they have made!