18 November 2013

Petite Pumpkin Pecan Scones

Hello friends. This pumpkin scone post, which is not meant to emulate Starbucks, was also meant to come sooner during pumpkin love season, but I just had to hack it a little more before sharing with you. My first batch was a little too damp inside for my taste and also lacked pecans, pumpkin's perhaps most trusted accomplice. Both versions lacked a glaze but that is just what brought them into decided breakfast territory and granted permission for a honey or maple butter spread instead. Now before you tell me I overuse the word lack, let me tell you just why these little scones are so plentiful in and of themselves. 

Slightly fall-spiced and just a little sweet, the thicker, half-spelt dough comes together quickly like a biscuit. While there are lots of popular drop-biscuit style pumpkin scones out there, I wanted something more traditional for this round. The inner crumb here is hearty yet light and every other bite or so you'll find a toasty piece of pecan. I think smaller is better here for a few reasons. Pumpkin puree in scone dough tends to, no matter what, add moisture, which therefore can trick you into when they are in the finished zone. The outside may be crisp and the inner still too damp if you make big scones, and I think things are just better off when the object to bake is smaller in stature. Less time let these little things bake up and rise just right.

In addition to that, smaller ones are great for accompanying an egg on the side. As I mentioned, I skipped the glaze in favor of some honey butter, letting these shine almost more like biscuits would. In terms of technique, another thing brow-furrowing with sweet potato or pumpkin biscuit dough is the fact that you do need to knead a little to fully incorporate the orange goodness, otherwise you'll end up with orange streaked flour biscuits. So don't be afraid to. But it's a question of finding the best way to work the dough because as we all know, scone dough doesn't respond well to too much work. With that in mind, I opted for the cut/flatten/stack technique of the dough, which helped incorporate all orange hue possible, and guaranteed some layers, without messing with the butter.

With all this talk of size, I feel the need to tell you that I was also a bit low on ingredients so making a very small batch wasn't purely deliberate, but turned out to be great for the aforementioned cooking chemistry reasons.  The only thing is, they are now all gone. Time to make more : ) You can certainly double or quadruple the recipe below, but I find more and more I like working with small amounts of dough at a time. 

Petite Pumpkin Pecan Scones

Note: The dough is on the thicker side. Don't fret. Just stack/fold and flatten to incorporate all the pumpkin. I used homemade butternut puree which is also probably a bit denser than canned pumpkin but I believe canned would work too. But homemade puree is great!

Makes four mini scones.
Inspiration from Chez Us

1/4 cup/32 grams unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup/30 grams spelt flour
1 Tbs coconut sugar, or light brown sugar
Scant 2 Tbs toasted, rough chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspooon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves, smashed or 1/8 teaspoon ground
1.5 tablespoons / 21 grams Irish butter, diced and very cold
1/8 t vanilla
2 T/ 30 grams  pumpkin or butternut puree- cold
2.5 T/ 20 ml  heavy cream-cold

Oven to 425.

In a large bowl whisk flours, sugar, baking powder, salt spices and half of pecans. Toss in butter pieces.With pastry cutter work in butter until pieces are no larger than small peas. Add rest of pecans in and toss. Work quickly. In small bowl mix vanilla, cream and puree. Scrape that into dry mix and fold together with spatula to moisten. Don't worry about some dry patches. Dump dough out onto a board (I always use a piece of plastic or parchment) and start to flatten with heel of your hand. Use a bench knife to square the sides as you press. Slice straight in half and stack one piece onto the other, rotate it 90 degrees, press again. Repeat this once or twice more. Shape the dough into a rectangle 3/4 inch high. Cut in half then cut the two halves into triangles. Brush tops with just a touch cream.

Place them on a parchment-lined sheet, and send to freezer for a few minutes. Place in oven. Set timer for 10-11 minutes but they will probably need a few moments more. Mine bake in about 12. Cool on sheet pan a few minutes, then cool completely on rack. While not hot but slightly warm, serve with honey or maple butter.