Pumpkin scones are a great afternoon savoury snack and something I am rather fond of. This recipe uses paprika and lots of black pepper to give it an extra-spicy kick. The pecorino comes by way of a memory of some excellent cheese scones my nanna used to make.
- 60 g butter
- 250 g Queensland blue pumpkin, diced into 3 cm cubes
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 280 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of nutmeg
- 50 g cold butter, extra, diced
- 1 egg
- 40 g natural yoghurt
- 40 g Pecorino Romano (see Note), grated
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Place an ovenproof frying pan over medium heat, warm a little and then add 20 g butter. Once the butter has melted add the pumpkin, paprika and some salt and pepper. Increase heat and fry for a few minutes or so. You want the pumpkin to become nicely coated with the paprika. The paprika should be starting to sizzle. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until soft and mashable.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder and nutmeg into a bowl, add the extra 50 g cold, diced butter and mix with your fingertips until it starts to look sandy.
You can also get you topping ready at this stage. Melt the remaining 40 g butter gently in a small pan over low heat. Remove from heat and mix in the cheese. The cheese will melt through and you’ll find yourself with a clumpy, buttery mix. Set aside.
By this time your pumpkin should be ready. Remove from oven and use the back of a fork to mash it. Add this to the flour, making sure to use a spatula to get all the tasty pan bits into the bowl. Combine the pumpkin and flour, mix gently but thoroughly with your fingers.
In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg and yoghurt together. Add this to your scone mix.
At this stage things will be getting a little sticky. Still using your hands, gently and swiftly bring these ingredients together before turning them out onto a floured bench. Your aim now is to pat your dough into a rectangular shape about 2 cm high and 15 cm x 20 cm wide, a plastic pastry scraper is a handy tool to help with this.
Again, using your pastry scraper, cut your scones into 5 cm squares. Spoon over your Pecorino mix then top with a generous amount of black pepper. Gently lift each scone onto a tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven. Bake for 15–20 minutes.
Once they’re out, see if you have enough willpower to allow them to cool before eating them with lashings of butter or mascarpone.
• Pecorino Romano is a generic name for a hard sheep’s milk cheese. A nice strong one is best but you can substitute with Parmesan, if you like.
Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel.