In the past week there have been vegetable pot pies with potatoes, leeks, and carrots from our garden and flaky, buttery, homemade pie crusts. There was a wholly experimental, but scrumptious six-layer (!!!) strawberry cake (when three would have much more reasonable and, uh…sliceable) for a five-year old’s birthday party. There have been Indian spiced red lentil soups with cauliflower and potatoes and a spicy broccoli basil capellini whose leftovers were fought over like Roman cats the next day at lunch. There was even a (delicious, but poorly rising) vanilla-pear swirl bread aside a traditional irresistible cinnamon-raisin loaf. (That will be repeated really soon because my kids and husband demolished it in a day.)
The thing is, these days I have been awful at documenting all of this with my camera. Life has gotten hectic, and however often I find myself dreaming up creations, they are consumed “There will be…no… survivors!” style fifteen minutes after I make them. (Ten points if you know the “poor and perfect” movie from which that came.)
Fortunately, I have finally recognized that no one will be following me around to shoot a series of the “Heartbreaking Errors and Stupefying Successes of la Cuoca Ciccia’s Kitchen.” And so I am making a concerted attempt to photograph my efforts this week. Which brings me to pumpkin scones.
If you have followed this neophyte blog in the past half-year or so, you may have gathered that I adore breakfast and baked goods, especially scones. Every year I cannot help myself from making a couple of batches of pumpkin scones, but this year I decided to go the way of some underappreciated whole grain flours from my pantry.
If you came looking for a chalky, dry scone, faintly reminiscent of pumpkin if not for anything else than the fact that nutmeg and cinnamon are present, I simply must direct you to a certain chain coffee shop with green straws. They will even kindly try to mask the poor excuse of breakfast for you with a maple syrup glaze. (Really, if you must have breakfast there just get a sausage egg sandwich and save yourself the agony of selecting the best pastry.)
If, however, you believe you would be tempted by buttermilk scones with kamut flour, naturally sweet oats, organic pumpkin puree, and a Demerara sugar crunch on the top, then these are your pumpkin scones. (And a cinch to make if you have a total of an extra half hour.)
1 cup kamut flour (or whole wheat in a pinch)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats, plus extra for rolling the dough in (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (can be increased to 1/3 cup if you like sweeter scones)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold butter (can be reduced to 6 tablespoons if necessary)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk soured with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice)
1/2 generous cup pumpkin puree, preferably organic
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon organic molasses
Milk or extra buttermilk for brushing on the scones
Demerara sugar (or turbinado or muscovado) for sprinkling on the scones
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (kamut flour, a.p. flour, oats baking powder, brown sugar, spices, and salt). Cut the butter into 1/2-1 inch cubes and carefully work into the mixing bowl of dry ingredients with two forks or a pastry blender until little pea sized clumps appear. Whisk together the wet ingredients (buttermilk, pumpkin puree, egg, and molasses) and stir into the mixing bowl of dry ingredients and butter until the dough roughly comes together.
Dust a clean work surface lightly with flour and (if using) extra rolled oats. Knead the dough in the bowl twice or thrice with your hands, enough to make it barely come together in one mass, and dump it out onto the floured surface. Pat down to make a dish about 2 inches high and cut into 8 scones. Place on the parchment covered baking sheet, brush the tops with milk or buttermilk, and generously sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
Bake for about 15 minutes, turning the back sheet from back to front halfway through baking, until the scones are golden brown color on the top and a toothpick comes out clean.