With the natural sweetness from the pumpkin, warming spices and the sharp bite of the parmesan to balance all the flavours, these make for an excellent afternoon treat in the autumn.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (4 votes)

This recipe provides an ideal way to use up leftover roasted pumpkin. If you’re starting from scratch, make the pumpkin purée a day or so ahead to make it easy to whip up the scones on the day.

If you don’t have an 8 cm (3¼ in) round cutter, simply cut the scones to your desired size and shape.


Pumpkin purée

  • 1 small pumpkin (winter squash)
  • 20 g (¾ oz/1 tbsp) olive oil
  • fine salt
  • freshly ground black pepper



  • 220 g (8 oz) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 12 g (½ oz/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 3 g (¹⁄₁₀ oz/½ tsp) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 12 g (½ oz/2 tsp) fine salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 220 g (8 oz) coarsely grated parmesan, plus 50 g (1¾ oz) finely grated, for the topping
  • 230 g (8 oz) pumpkin purée (see above)
  • 100 g (3½ oz/2 medium) eggs, at room temperature
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) full-cream (whole) milk or buttermilk, plus extra, for brushing

Cook's notes

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.


Chilling time: at least 30 minutes.

Allow an extra 1 hr 45 minutes cooking time if not using leftover baked pumpkin. 

  1. To make the pumpkin purée, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Put in a roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes, or until tender. Scoop out the flesh and blitz in a food processor to form a smooth purée. You will need 230 g (8 oz) purée for this recipe.
  2. To make the scones, cut the chilled butter into 1 cm (½ in) cubes and return it to the fridge to get it really cold while you weigh up the rest of your ingredients.
  3. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices in a large bowl and whisk to combine, removing any large lumps. Tip the dry ingredients onto the kitchen bench and scatter over the chilled butter cubes. Use a rolling pin to break the butter into the flour, gathering in the flour with a dough scraper or spatula as you roll, until the mixture is crumbly with shards of butter the size of rolled oats still visible. These small pieces of butter are important for the structure and texture of the baked scone, so be careful not to overmix at this stage. Add the coarsely grated parmesan and toss to combine.
  4. Put the pumpkin purée, eggs and milk in a bowl and lightly whisk to combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into it. Toss the flour mixture over the liquid and use your hands to gently bring everything together – this may take a minute or two. Use a dough scraper to gather up any loose flour or liquid as you go. Once it is a cohesive mass, roll it out a little and fold it over itself two to three times to help create layers.
  5. Roll the dough into a slab roughly measuring 18 × 28 cm (7 × 11 in) and 3 cm (1¼ in) thick. Use an 8 cm (3¼ in) round cutter to cut out six scones. Gather up the trimmings and push them together, then cut out another scone or two. Place the scones, evenly spaced, on the lined tray. Cover loosely with a tea towel (dish towel) and refrigerate for a couple of hours or freeze for 30 minutes to set the butter back into the dough. At this stage, you can wrap and freeze the scones for up to 1 month.
  6. To bake the scones, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Lightly brush the tops with milk, then sprinkle with the finely grated parmesan. Put the tray on the top oven shelf and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C (360°F). Bake for a further 10–12 minutes, turning the tray halfway through, until golden on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes, then eat on the same day. The flavour of the spices will mellow beautifully as the scones cool.


This is an edited extract from All Day Baking by Michael and Pippa James (Hardie Grant Books, $45, available where all good books are sold). Photography: © Lisa Cohen