Plum Scones

Last night I sat there, watching Masterchef, not really doing much but I wanted to bake. I wanted to make something. I've been resigned to making things at the weekend for the last few weeks because the light is better for photography so I've missed mid-week baking. I bought some plums on Monday with the intention of baking with them but I wasn't quite sure what I was going to make and I had some buttermilk left over from the weekend that I really didn't want to throw out. I love baking with buttermilk. It creates such a wonderful texture and even though it's not expensive to buy I hate to waste it. 

These scones are a sweet variation on the blue cheese buttermilk scones I posted about last month and are adapted from Joy the Baker again. Joy is one of my favourite food bloggers, you feel like you're friends when you read her posts and she loves gin...I can appreciate that. She also makes A-MAZING food, something else I can appreciate. 

Plums are just going out of season so if you're lucky you can get some good local ones but the supermarket will have them all year round. Since I started food blogging I've become much more interested in what fruits and vegetables are in season and when. I feel much more educated about where my food is coming from.  Back to! Plums are such a wonderful fruit. Check out that beautiful burnished orange and purple colour. I rarely use plums in baking but eating them warm is something else, they are sweet and slightly tart at the same time. This is why they work so well with the simple scone flavour. There is a subtle hint of ginger in there too. 

I photographed these quickly at about 8am this morning before running out the door with one and walking to work with it. It was so nice to walk through to crunchy leaves and the chilly air with the taste of plum and ginger in my mouth. Would have been fairly idyllic if it weren't for all the cars in morning traffic, but it was good enough. 

Plum Scones
(adapted from Joy the Baker)

400g plain flour
60g caster sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
90g unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
40g vegetable fat (e.g. Trex), cold and cut into cubes (if you don’t have shortening you can certainly substitute unsalted butter)
1 egg, beaten
150ml buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g plums, stoned and sliced
1/4 cup buttermilk, for brushing
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  1. Preheat to 200 C/ 400 F.  Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and set aside. Mix the 2 tablespoons of sugar with the ginger in a small cup and set this aside as well. 
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Throw in the butter and vegetable fat and use your hands to rub the fats into the dry ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs. 
  3. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat lightly with a fork.  Add the liquid to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft dough and bring together with your hands. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 15 times. Shape the dough into a disk and roll out to a little less than 1/2-inch thickness and about 12-inches long and 10-inches tall.  
  5. Brush half of the rolled out dough with buttermilk.  Arrange the plum slices, in a single layer, across the buttermilk side.  Sprinkle with half of the ginger sugar mixture.  Carefully fold the empty side of dough over the plum sliced layer.  Gently press together.  Using a floured knife, slice the dough into eight even pieces.
  6. Place the dough on prepared baking trays, leaving about 1 1/2-inches in between each scone while baking.  If dough has warmed up, place back in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up again.  Remove from the fridge.  Brush each scone top with buttermilk, and sprinkle with remaining ginger sugar.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.  
As Joy mentions, they are best served warm, on the day they’re made, with soft butter...and I could not agree more.