Lightly spiced Pumpkin Scones are perfect for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea or snack time. The crunchy, candied-pumpkin-seed topping is the perfect indulgent finish.
Why these are THE BEST Pumpkin Scones
Between my 7-year stint as pastry chef at a British tea shop and baking for family and friends, at this point in my life I’ve baked, literally, tens of thousands of scones.
Finally, finally I’ve created a Pumpkin Scone recipe. But lets make one thing clear, these are Pumpkin Scones, not Pumpkin Spice Scones.
The spices play nicely with the pumpkin flavor, but the pumpkin flavor is front and center and the spice is in a supporting role.
Many pumpkin scones are finished with a sugary glaze, but I’m obsessed with the beautiful and rustic look of the candied pumpkin seed topping on these scones. I love the contrasting crunchy bite of the seeds against the soft interior crumb of the scones.
Though they are the perfect autumn treat, they’re so good they should be enjoyed year-round!
- All purpose flour – Medium protein all purpose flour makes a scone that has enough structure to rise high in the oven, but also has a tender crumb.
- Pumpkin Puree – Make sure you use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Canned pumpkin puree is very consistent in flavor and water level. If you use homemade pureed pumpkin make sure it not too wet. Blot the pumpkin with paper towels to remove excess moisture if your puree is very moist.
- Buttermilk – Acidic buttermilk tenderizes the scones. If you don’t have fresh buttermilk, buttermilk powder is the best substitute. Mix the buttermilk powder according to the directions before adding to the scones.
- Sugar – Just enough sugar is added to lightly sweeten and tenderize the dough.
- Spices – If you have a pre-mixed pumpkin spice blend you can use 2 teaspoons of the spice mix in place of the spices listed in the recipe.
- Pumpkin Seeds – Crushed pumpkin seeds combined with sugar and a little maple syrup make a crunchy topping. You can use pecans or walnuts in place of the seeds.
How to make Pumpkin Scones
- Whip the whites to full peak. Whisk in the yolks and vanilla.
- Sift the over the batter and gently fold it in.
- Fold just until all the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Pipe the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet into 4″ long x 2″ wide “fingers”.
- Lightly sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.
- Bake until light brown and spongy about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
- Cook the custard over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the custard into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
- Sandwich the ladyfingers with the preserves.
- Cut a ladyfinger sandwich in half, lengthwise.
- Stand the ladyfingers on end, with the cut side to the outside of a glass trifle bowl. Continue cutting and arranging the ladyfingers until the entire perimeter of the bowl is lined with a “striped” pattern.
- Use half of the remaining uncut cookies to the line bottom of the bowl. You can break them up to fit pieces into any gaps between the cookies.
- Sprinkle a ½ cup of the sherry over the cookies on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Pour half of the custard into the bowl. Arrange the remaining cookies over the custard and sprinkle with the remaining sherry.
- Pour the other half the custard into the bowl.
- Top the trifle with whipped cream and refrigerate at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.
- Put the pumpkin seeds and sugar in a food processor.
- Pulse to break down the seeds to a chunky powder.
- Add maple syrup.
- Stir to combine and set aside.
- Chop the butter into 1/2″ chunks and refrigerate.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk the dry ingredients to combine.
- Place the wet ingredients in a bowl or liquid measuring up.
- Whisk to combine the wet ingredients.
- Toss the cold chunks of butter into the dry ingredients.
- Use your fingers to squash the cubes into flat flakes of butter.
- You should see distinctive flakes throughout the dry ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
- Use a spatula to combine the ingredients into a wet dough. You should see visible flakes of butter as you mix.
- Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface.
- Use floured hands to pat the dough to an 8″ round.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the scones. Don’t use a sawing motion, just cut directly through the dough for a clean cut.
- Clean the edge of the knife with a spatula between cuts for clean edges on the scones.
- Transfer the scones to a baking sheet. Use well-floured hands to reshape the scones if they get distorted during the transfer.
- Brush the scones with buttermilk.
- Divide the pumpkin seed topping between the scones and pat the topping into the buttermilk to keep it in place.
- Bake the scones until golden brown and well-risen.
- Transfer to a cooling rack.
Pastry Chef tips for making perfect scones:
- Combine all the dry ingredients and whisk them together before adding the wet ingredients. Dispersing the salt and leavening helps the scones rise evenly.
- Work the cold butter in with your fingers. Those flakes of butter will give the scones a slightly flakey texture.
- Once the wet ingredients are added, mix just until the flour is incorporated. It’s best to make scones by hand to avoid over-mixing the dough.
- No need for a rolling pin. Pat the dough by hand to avoid overworking the dough.
- Scones are best eaten they day they are baked but will keep at room temperature for a day.
- Baked scones should never be refrigerated.
- Baked scones can be frozen for up to three months. Defrost the scones at room temperature, then warm in the oven to revive the texture.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 4 oz unsalted butter (cold)
- 12 ½ oz unbleached all purpose flour (2 ½ cups)
- 5 oz granulated sugar (½ cup + 2 Tbl)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 oz pumpkin puree (¾ cup, see note)
- 4 oz buttermilk (½ cup)
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Line a ½ sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a food processor or blender pulse 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to make a chunky powder. This can also be done by hand with a sharp knife. Transfer the seeds to a small bowl. Drizzle 1 teaspoon maple syrup over the seeds and mix to combine. Set the topping aside.
- Cut 4 oz unsalted butter into ½" chunks and put it in the refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 12 ½ oz unbleached all purpose flour, 5 oz granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg and ½ teaspoon salt.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup mix together 6 oz pumpkin puree, 4 oz buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon lemon extract and 1 large egg.
- Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers, squashing the chunks of butter into large flakes. Work quickly to avoid melting the butter. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients all at once and mix until barely combined. Some loose flour may remain at the bottom of the bowl. DON'T OVER MIX.
- Dump the dough directly onto a generously floured surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and knead the dough just a couple of turns to finish mixing the ingredients. Use plenty of flour as this is a very sticky dough. Using well-floured hands, pat the dough a 8” round that is 1" thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the round into 8 wedges. Don't use a sawing motion, just press straight through the dough with the sharp blade. Wipe the knife between cuts for clean edges on the scones. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush the top of the scones with buttermilk. Divide the pumpkin seed topping between the scones and lightly pat on the seeds to hold them in place.
- Bake until well-risen and golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.
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