Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Pumpkin Scone

I've been eating this for lunch for a couple of days, and every time my colleagues see it they ask what it is, and how I make it! It's a great replacement for bread if you're bored of sandwiches, and serves well alongside a few slices of sharp cheddar or soft goat's cheese. You could also slice it into small pieces, top with goats cheese and a few snippets of chive, and use as a vegetarian starter.

Again it's an adaptation of a Nigel Slater recipe; this time I've changed the cooking method as I don't own a shallow oven-proof pan. We're still working our way through the Crown Prince and it's the perfect ingredient here. However I think you could comfortably substitute sweet potato; perhaps use a little less milk to adjust for its higher water content.

  • 300g peeled and de-seeded pumpkin
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 70g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 90 ml warm milk
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
Cut the pumpkin into ~3cm chunks and steam for 20 minutes, or until tender enough to mash. Whiz the flour, baking soda, salt and butter together in a food processor. Drain the pumpkin and mash with a fork or potato masher, and beat in the egg, milk and thyme leaves. Season with black pepper. Combine the pumpkin and flour mixtures gently, stirring until no more flour is visible, but no further.

Warm a non-stick frying pan with a little vegetable oil to a low to medium heat. When the oil is warm, tip the dough in, scraping out the bowl and flattening the top. It takes patience at this point, as the cool dough will reduce the temperature of the pan, but don't be tempted to turn the heat up. Instead, cook for about ten minutes, and in the meantime preheat the grill to medium. You'll see the edges of the scone start to vent steam; at this point lift the edge of the scone gently and check the underside; it should be golden-brown.

Put the whole pan a few inches underneath the grill to finish off; the top should have a thin, golden-brown crust. If you know your grill well, you can grill it on medium for five minutes, then switch it off and leave it took cook in the residual heat. Serve warm, especially with cheese. It keeps for a few days, covered, in a cool place rather than the fridge.

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