If apples are the quintessential fall icon, pumpkins must be a close runner up. Where apples lure you into the fall season with their promise of the upcoming relief from the sweltering heat of summer. Pumpkin urges you over the hump - you know, that point somewhere in mid-fall where the refreshingly cool days turn into frost and the occasional snow flurry. That point in the season where the romance of the changing leaves turns into an ugly brown mess covering your back yard. Where the mornings are sprinkled with frost (if you can see it in the pitch black that used to be dawn) and your breath leaves puffy clouds in the sub-freezing air.
This is the shift in season where the snowbirds start packing up for the season and head for points South. And those of us with enough fortitude (or lack of options...) prepare ourselves for the months ahead. Just when we start to feel a little hopeless about the sudden loss of the fruits of summer, pretty little pumpkins start to show up at little roadside stands all across the Great Northeast. Luring us in with their potential. To be anything we want them to be.
Jack-o-lanterns with their odd little faces.
Pumpkin pie with its smooth creamy texture.
Pumpkin seeds lightly oiled, salted and gently roasted to their nutty crunchiness.
And if you are lucky enough, you stumble across a recipe for Pumpkin Scones. (In case you haven't figured it out... I was lucky!).
I pretty much followed the recipe as posted - only a couple of modifications. I made 18 scones (rolled the dough into two disks, cut into 1/8th's and used my scone dishes to bake - slightly reduced baking time) and I used cinnamon chips as my add-in.
KAF's Recipe for Pumpkin Harvest SconesFrom their Baking Banter Blog
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup to 2 cups minced crystallized ginger, cinnamon chips, or chocolate chips (I used cinnamon chips)
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping
1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated. (I did this in my stand mixer with the paddle)
3) Stir in the ginger and/or chips, if you're using them.
4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.
5) Add the pumpkin/egg to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together. (I did this in the mixer as well until most of the dry ingredients were incorporated and went by hand to get the last bit worked in - don't handle too much though - you don't want tough scones)
6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan. (I greased my two scone pans and shaped them on a lightly floured counter and transfered them into the slots once I cut the dough)
7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5" circle (if you haven't incorporated any add-ins); or a 6" circle (if you've added 2 cups of fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4" thick.
8) Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.
9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges. (I made eight).
10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.
11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
12) Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs. If you pull one of the scones away from the others, the edges should look baked through, not wet or doughy. (Smaller scones bake slightly less)
13) Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature. Reheat very briefly in the microwave, if desired.