By Liz Murray
Ever wonder what it was like to grow up in New England at the turn of the 20th century? Nightcaps and songs around a grand piano, letter writing, and elaborate horticulture pursuits made for lavish pastimes – as did the time-honored tradition of tea and scones. A trip across the Claireborne Pell Newport Bridge to the Blithewold estate in Bristol harkens back to the elegant pleasures enjoyed by the Van Wickle family at their coastal getaway, and you can recreate a piece of their tradition by filling your abode with the warming scents of apple and pecan conjured by home-made scones baking in the oven.
Even if aristocracy and unplugged life aren’t your cup of tea, this autumnal scone recipe is irresistible in any context and nicely complemented with loose-leaf tea from South Coast Organics and Bulk Foods in Wakefield and a squeeze of local honey.
Pumpkin Pecan Scones With Apple Cider Glaze
1 cup raw pecans
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves or allspice
½ tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold butter
¾ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup milk of choice
¾ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup apple cider
½ to 2 cups of powdered sugar (depending on consistency)
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place the nuts in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Toast the nuts for 3 minutes, then chop into very fine pieces.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ¾ of the chopped nuts, baking powder, sugar, spices, and salt.
- Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use your hands to mix the butter evenly into the flour mixture until there are no visible pieces left.
- Stir in pumpkin puree, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix together until a dough forms.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and form the dough into a circle that’s about an inch deep all around. Use a chef’s knife to cut the circle into 8 even slices.
- Separate the slices and place them on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- While the scones are baking, prepare the glaze. Bring apple cider to a boil in a medium saucepan. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, until reduced by half (it is important for it to reduce).
- Remove the saucepan from heat and toss in the butter, cinnamon, pinch of salt, and half a cup of powdered sugar. Whisk to combine, then add more powdered sugar as needed to reach desired consistency. It should coat the back of a spoon and be light in color.
- Once the scones are done, drizzle with the glaze and sprinkle with the leftover chopped nuts. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving, and enjoy!
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