A scone is a quickly made pastry, a mix of flour and butter that is baked in a hot oven until flaky and golden. Scones, at least here in the US, are rarely served plain. Instead of the basic perfect-with-jam-and-clotted-cream scone that you might find served at an afternoon tea, we’re a lot more likely to see them augmented with dried fruits, sugar or other flavorings and served with coffee for breakfast. Not that there is anything wrong with that – I personally like scones in just about any form they take (as long as it’s a good scone, of course) and am just as partial to traditional ones as some of the more creative varieties. These scones, for instance, are a take on a traditional pumpkin scone.
Pumpkin scones are pretty popular in Australia, where they are paired with savory dishes (like a biscuit) a bit more often than with sweet. I always enjoyed them when I had them there, so when I finally came across a good recipe for pumpkin scones, I couldn’t wait to try it. Unfortunately, I used up all my pumpkin making chocolate pumpkin pies for friends and family over the past couple of weeks and my desire to make the scones immediately was at odds with the ingredients in my cabinet.
Immediacy won out in the end and I opted to use sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin. Cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (baked, then cooled) have almost the exact same consistency as cooked, mashed pumpkin, and they have the same appealing natural sweetness. The finished scones are both sweet and savory. As you might expect with such a lean dough, they are a bit denser than a very butter-rich scone, but that doesn’t detract from the overall taste or texture. You can serve these with butter and jam (I like pumpkin butter, personally), but they really work well when served in place of a more traditional biscuit with soup or a savory meal.
Sweet Potato Scones
1 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup mashed sweet potato, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and salt. Beat in egg, then the mashed sweet potato. Stir until smooth.
Sift in flour and baking powder. Stir until flour is completely mixed in. Dough should be slightly sticky, but not wet. If it is wet (i.e. if your sweet potatoes were unusually moist) add an additional tbsp or two of flour.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead three or four times before shaping intoa rectangle and rolling out to 3/4 inch thickness. Use a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter to cut rounds. Reroll dough once and continue to cut rounds. Place all on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden.
Cool on a wire rack, or eat warm.
Makes about 12, depending on size of biscuit cutter used.