At the moment, I’m afraid that there hasn’t been any action on the romantic front, which means many long, lonely nights curled up in bed with a book and my dog, sighing wistfully as I imagine a dashing gent who’ll come along and sweep me off my…
Sorry, couldn’t help myself I’m not much of a writer at the best of times, and when it comes to writing pseudo-romance chick lit, I’m about as useless as knees on a fish. However, I am ridiculously single at the moment which does mean that the only sort of dates I get are the dried fruit variety!
What’s the old saying? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade…well, in my case, I just used my dates in another homely, beautiful lot of scones!
My last documented dash into scone-land was with Belinda Jeffery’s buttermilk scones, and one of my readers who left a comment also highly praised Ms. Jeffery’s pumpkin scones as surpassing all overs! Well then! I had to see whether I agreed, so I added pumpkin to my shopping list (though butternut instead of jap) and made note to give them a try at the next available opportunity.
I have to say that while I like these just as much as the buttermilk scones (the latter being better for jam and cream combinations while the pumpkin really shouldn’t be paired with anything other than salted butter), the pumpkin scones have been FAR more popular with the family members. My mother and kid sister have been absolutely wolfing these down, and on every occasion, a batch of 12 scones has been reduced to nothing but crumbs in just a few days!
The pumpkin really is the key here – it provides lots of moisture to the mix and while it makes it quite difficult to knead and roll out your scones (all I do is mix with a wooden spoon till combined, then pat my dough together then dump it onto a well-floured bench and pat it it flat and into shape instead of even attempting to knead the dough), it also means that these scones stay soft and moist for days and are so full of flavour that there’s no jam or cream required. In fact, having tried them a few different ways, I can safely say that all these golden nuggests require is a little pat of salted butter and a mug of tea to help wash them down
Pumpkin & Date Scones
(from Mix & Bake by Belinda Jeffery)
3 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarb/baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
120g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
200g chopped pitted dates (not medjool, they’re far too moist and sticky for this)
1 cup cold cooked mashed pumpkin (I used butternut)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper, then very lightly dust it with flour and set aside.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking/bicab soda and salt into a large bowl and use a balloon whisk to whisk it together. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips till the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir together the buttermilk and cooked cold mashed pumpkin and set aside for now.
3. Add the dates to the bowl and toss them through to coat them in the flour mixture, then make a well in the centre of the bowl and pour in the pumpkin/buttermilk mix. Stir it together till barely combined, then tip it onto a well-floured chopping board and lightly knead till the mixture comes together (not till the batter is smooth – just till it holds together and doesn’t have any unmixed bits).
4. Pat the dough into a round about 4cm thick, then dip a scone cutter (or glass tumbler) into some flour and stamp out your scone shapes. Alternately, you can cut the round into triangular wedges or pat it into a cylinder and just cut off rounds.
5. Carefully sit the scones closely together on the baking tray, using up all your dough (press the scraps together rather than kneading them). Either dust the tops with flour or give them a milk or egg wash, then bake for 20 minutes or till cooked through and golden. Once they’re done, remove them from the oven and wrap in a clean tea towel for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool.
6. Serve whilst warm with some salted butter, or store in an airtight container for up to three days. Cold scones can be reheated in a microwave or toaster oven to make them warm and soft again.
[tags]pumpkins, dates, butternut, Belinda Jeffery, scones, biscuits, baking, recipe[/tags]