I love Pinterest. Social media can be a tricky thing - it can be completely wonderful and it can also make me want to compare my life to all the pictures I see online of other people's "perfect" lives. After we had been married for a year we spent a summer in Berlin (2011) and it was a pretty lonely time for me - on facebook I saw dozens of pictures of my friends in Boston having fun without me and my friends in Italy having fun without me, and it made me feel even more lonely than I probably really was. I hate missing out - whenever there is some social gathering I ALWAYS want to be there, even if I am sick or exhausted. That summer was probably a good growing time for my character - and it was also when I was first invited to join Pinterest! Pinterest now can be yet another source for unhealthy comparisons, but at that time it was wonderful for me - a bunch of ideas and projects and recipes to take my mind off of being lonely. I couldn't do very much with many of them while we were still in Germany, but when we got home I got to work on the various to-do's I had begun collecting.
One of the first Pinterest recipes that I made the fall after we got back was Pumpkin Scones. Anyone who has cooked with me knows that I very rarely follow recipes, but this one I actually did follow. And the scones were so good that I have since continued to follow the recipe multiple times every fall.
Here is the link to the original blog that I pinned it from:
I don't know what's proper for a blog, but this blogger seems to be ON it. The explanations, the pictures every step of the way... Maybe I'll learn something from her. I always seem to remember to take pictures at inopportune moments (like when the scones are already in the oven, so then I take them back out for picture time - awkward).
Anyways. Normally I do almost exactly what she says - except that I double (or triple or quadruple) the recipe, and I don't measure the ingredients for the glaze (if I have already started cleaning the kitchen I do not like to get anything new dirty). I also sometimes leave the fully formed dough in the fridge overnight - this stuff is SUPER STICKY to work with and I have found that letting the dough refrigerate helps the situation quite a bit. The first time I made these, I made them with my dad (SO. FUN. We're both a little crazy in the kitchen) and the dough was all over the place, sticking to everything - we barely managed to cut them and they puffed up into somewhat-triangular balloons of fluffy pumpkin yumminess in the oven. That first time we didn't even make it to the glaze part... They were just too good to wait.
In October, I normally find a good deal on sugar pumpkins at a farm somewhere, buy a bunch and then roast them and make my own puree for all of my pumpkin recipes. Since I live in Italy now, that's not really an option. We could barely find jack-o-lantern pumpkins. The one we did find is still un-carved - oops. In Italian the word for squash is "zucca" but I've had to explain to people that pumpkins are just one type of "zucca" (they don't know the word 'squash') - and no one seems to know where I can find sugar pumpkins. Being a New England girl, I'm super picky about what types of squash (and apples) are used for certain recipes. But here they just aren't as fussy about these things. What I have worked with so far:
We have these:
Both of which are great for soup - especially the second one. I used to get those from a farm in MA where my parents have a farm share, and I used them for all my savory recipes. Those ones are magic. SO GOOD. They are called kabocha squash but I called them magic squash because they are so yummy. More on soup later.
Both of these squashes are a little more hearty than sugar pumpkins, and not quite as sweet, but they have depth of flavor and they are my best options. Yesterday I decided to try the magic squash and see if it would be magic for my pumpkin scones. Also, I had already roasted and pureed some magic squash.
I followed the recipe exactly because I want an accurate test of this squash, and because scones are tricky.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (we used turbinado)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (we used our fresh pumpkin puree)
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg
Powdered Sugar Glaze:
Whatever amount of powdered sugar I feel like with a few drops of milk to make it frosting. The original recipe yields way too much frosting for the batch size (in my opinion).
Drops of milk
A few taps of ground cinnamon
A few taps of ground nutmeg (same as cinnamon)
Half as many taps of ground cloves (so half as much clove as cinnamon)
Half as many taps of ground ginger (same as cloves)
Sorry, I don't like measuring.
1. Preheat oven to 425 F or 220 C
2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. (I actually didn't measure the spices super accurately.) I always use a stand mixer because step 3 is tricky and I don't want to do that work by hand.
3. Add the cubed butter on top. This is important - the butter has to be cold and you should touch it as little as possible with your hands because it changes the consistency of the dough if the butter melts. Turn mixer on (not too high) so that it basically crumbles the butter into the flour and evenly distributes. (I usually use the mixing/'normal'/paddle attachment or the whisk attachment). It is supposed to be the consistency of cornmeal, and there shouldn't be any large pieces of butter left.
4. While the mixer is doing the butter work for me, I whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (by hand). (The egg, half and half, and pumpkin). In the past I have used milk when I have not had half and half - this time I used cream.
5. Once the butter has incorporated into the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients are mixed, I switch to the dough-kneading attachment for my mixer and gently pour the wet ingredients in while the mixer is running (again, on low). The recipe says to "fold in" the wet. Once it is all in I let it form a ball of dough - I often have to scrape the flour from the sides of the bowl down into the pumpkin-y stuff.
Here is where you can either refrigerate the dough ball over night, or just cook it then.
6. Whenever you do decide to bake it, you first roll it out into a rectangle (or square) 1 inch thick. I usually roll it out right onto my parchment-paper lined baking sheet. MAKE SURE THE SURFACE IS WELL-FLOURED. At this point you should cut the scones - you may just want to make up a way to cut them. If you want nice little triangles, then cut your dough into a 'grid' with squares as wide as you want the scones to be. Then cut each square in half DIAGONALLY. È voila! You have triangular shaped scones. (I did this differently than the blog). USE A PIZZA CUTTER. It eliminates major unnecessary headaches.
7. Put the scones in the 425F (220 C) oven for 15 minutes.
8. While that's in the oven I make the glazes. Actually, usually I clean up. Then I make the powdered sugar glaze while they are 'cooling.' I put the first glaze on with a pastry brush (the glaze thins out as soon as it hits the warm scones) and then I use the same bowl and whatever is leftover to make the spiced glaze.
9. ENJOY! Yum.
Well, I definitely like using sugar pumpkin better, but these weren't bad. I may need to add a little bit more sugar in the future to compensate for the lack of sweetness of the squash. I also used cane sugar as opposed to white sugar which definitely makes a difference.
Jon loved them, 2 campus boys loved them, I liked them. All in all, not bad. But for Thanksgiving I may have to use one of the pumpkin cans my mom sent me...