Hi! Happy New Year! Sorry for going a bit quiet over here - I took some time off, and then couldn’t quite kick myself back into a routine. This time of the year is always a little weird for me, as I tend to get super homesick (I’m sure that the cold doesn’t help either), which tends to trigger anxiety, and I then find it super hard to get anything done. It happens every year and I’m always surprised, until Mum reminds me (every year) that it does, and I have to just remind myself to go a little easy just for a bit. Once I manage to get myself back into routine it usually sorts itself out, and I am super happy to have found my baking mojo again! I can’t wait to share some super fun things with you this year - there are some awesome things lined up!
These roasted pear and salted honey scones are inspired by some I ate when I spent 24 hours in Portland, Maine in October last year. I got up early and made my way to Tandem Coffee and bakery, which is a crazy cute little cafe and bakery. I plopped myself in the corner with a book, ate the best breakfast sandwich I think I will ever have in my life, and then grabbed a scone to go as I was leaving for the airport. And oh man am I glad I did. The scone had giant chunks of pear, held together by tender scone dough, and was topped with a salty honey situation that rounded it all off so, so perfectly. I knew I had to immediately recreate them, so here we are (like, 3 months later haha).
Because pear, like most fruit, releases liquid when it bakes, I decided to roast the pear chunks slightly first to help get rid of some of the moisture, stopping the final product from being too soggy. The cooled roasted pear chunks are then tossed through the scone dough, and stay firm enough after baking to give an amazing variation in texture. The honey on the top adds a lovely sweetness, and then the flaky salt on top cuts perfectly through the honey, while adding crunch. Because of the giant chunks of pear, the scones are slightly more craggy and rustic than regular scones, but I promise you that this is totally made up for by how they taste. They would make a perfect morning or afternoon treat, and are easy enough that you can quickly whip them up at short notice. Enjoy!
A few wee tips:
These are a little more craggy than traditional scones, because of the moisture provided by the pear. This also makes them super tender and delicious.
Depending on the juiciness of the pear, you may need a little additional liquid in the scones. Add the amount called for in the recipe, then add by the teaspoon as needed, focussing on dry spots. The pears do provide some moisture, so make sure you are aware of this - you won’t need more than 240g (1 cup) of milk total.
Because you don’t want to completely squish the pear, I add three quarters of the milk and mix it into the flour mixture, before tossing in the roasted pear chunks. This helps reduce the chances of breaking up the pear as you mix in the rest of the milk.
Don’t take the honey too far - you only want to boil it for a minute tops. If you take it too far it turns into a hard caramel that is super hard to eat. I took mine to 240°f / 115°c and then left it to stand, where it thickened nicely.
Roasted Pear and Vanilla Bean Scones with Salty Honey Glaze
- Makes 8 Large Scones -
6 large, firmish pears, peeled, cored, and diced (800g chopped pear)
600g all-purpose flour
5 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
160g unsalted butter, diced into small cubes and frozen for 15 minutes
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
210g whole milk, divided, plus a little extra if required (see notes)
150g honey (I used a raw clover honey)
Flaky Sea Salt to finish
- PROCESS -
Preheat the oven to 400°f / 200°c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the diced pear evenly over the lined sheet. Roast the pear for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pear feels dry and is beginning to turn golden brown in places. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Leave the oven on.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and rub in using your fingertips until it is mainly combined, with a few lumps remaining. Mix the vanilla bean paste into the milk. Add about half of the milk into the dry ingredients, mixing with a spatula or your hands until combined. Add the cooled pear chunks to the bowl, and toss well with your hands to ensure they are evenly dispersed through the mixture.
Add the remainder of the milk, and mix gently with your hands until incorporated, taking care to not crush too much of the pear chunks. You want the dough to be cohesive with no dry parts. Add extra milk a teaspoon at a time if needed, and mix to combine.
Line the baking sheet used for the pears with a fresh piece of parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and flatten into a rectangle using your hands. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 pieces. Dust the bottoms of the scones lightly with flour and arrange evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown on the bottoms and lightly golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. While the scones are cooling on the rack, prepare the honey glaze.
SALTY HONEY GLAZE
Place the honey in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it starts to bubble. Once the honey is boiling, boil for one minute, then remove from the heat and allow to stand in the saucepan for 20 minutes to cool and thicken.
Using a pastry brush, brush the cooled honey thickly onto the top of the scones. Finish with flaky sea salt. Best eaten the day they are made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and reheated in the microwave before eating.