My friend Monica invited me over to carve pumpkins last weekend. Her invitation also included this throw-down: “BYOPumkin; Bake-off submissions voluntary (although everyone will be judging).”
I mulled this challenge over for a bit. I didn’t want to bring pumpkin bread or some kind of complicated thing like whoopie pies or ginger-cookie pumpkin ice cream sandwiches, like I’ve done in the past. So I settled on pumpkin cranberry scones with orange zest icing.
I found a recipe online as a guide but I’ve since developed my own recipe using a couple of great shortcuts: pumpkin pie filling and self-rising flour. If you can find a can of pumpkin pie filling that is simply pumpkin and spices without added corn syrup, this is the way to go. (I used Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin Pie Mix.) If you can’t find a low-sugar pumpkin pie mix you can use regular pumpkin puree and add 1-1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the flour mixture. If you like sweeter scones, add 1/4 cup packed brown sugar to the flour mixture. Also, this recipe easily doubles.
Self-rising flour is a trick I learned from a British friend who develops recipes in England and it makes perfect, flaky scones every time. Otherwise, if you don’t sift the rising agents with the flour, the baking powder might not get evenly distributed making for those annoying white clumps in the dough and flatter scones. Self-rising flour is just an excellent shortcut. Another tip: Use a pizza cutter to make your wedges.
The bake-off at Monica’s had some impressive entries: a pumpkin pastry roll with cream cheese filling; a sweet potato pie with fluff meringue; pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins; and a store-bought apple pie. In the end, we asked the only child at the event to be the judge.
She chose the apple pie.
Pumpkin cranberry scones)
2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
1 stick cold butter
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pumpkin pie filling
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
For the icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons milk
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine flour, brown sugar (if you are using), and pinch of salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter and mix with fingertips until the flour resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cranberries.
3. In separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin pie filling, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup milk.
4. Add to flour mixture and combine until all the flour is gathered.
5. Turn over dough onto a floured surface and knead about 10 times. Working quickly and lightly with your finger tips, pat the dough out into an 8-inch circle.
6. Using a pizza cutter, divide the circle into 8 wedges. Transfer onto an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with the remaining tablespoon of milk.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops of the scones just begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack over a piece of parchment paper and let cool for 10 minutes.
8. Combine the ingredients for the icing and drizzle over tops of scones once they have cooled slightly.
Related post on Kitchen Report: Pumpkin raisin muffins