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Pear and Pistachio Scones

Pear and Pistachio Scones
Pears don’t get all the stage time apples do when it comes to fall baking, but they can be a great fruit to work for baking desserts and other treats because they have a unique and delicious flavor. These Pear and Pistachio Scones are just one of many ways to incorporate pears into your baking this season.

These easy to make scones include both pears and pistachios. The pears add sweetness and moisture to the scones, while the pistachios add a nice texture – in addition to a flavor that complements the pears – and a bit of color. The pears are simply diced up and kneaded right into the scone dough. You don’t want to chop the pears up too finely or you will risk crushing them as your stir them in. I aim for pieces that are about a half inch long or slightly larger, so they will stand out enough to deliver a nice burst of pear flavor. The scones are buttery and not too sweet, with a crisp exterior that contrasts well with the soft interior of the scone and the tender pears.

I added a hint of ginger into my scone dough because it is a flavor that works well both with pears and pistachios, while still letting the pears and nuts take the spotlight. If you’re a ginger fan, you could double the amount of ginger used or even add in a handful of candied ginger to spice these scones up a bit more. And if you’re not a ginger fan, you could use cinnamon or a bit of cardamom to add a hint of spice and a little extra flavor to your scones, too.

I cut this batch of scones into rectangles, which is a slightly unusual shape for scones. I think it gives them a nice, uniform look and it makes them very easy to plate and serve. You could also pat your dough into discs, rather than a rectangle, before slicing the scones to achieve the more familiar triangle scone look. You could also drop dough balls of dough (of roughly equal size) onto a baking sheet to make more casual, free-form drop scones.

Pear and Pistachio Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
6 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1 ripe Bartlett pear, peeled and diced (approx 1 cup)
1/2 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped and divided
2 tbsp milk, for topping
2 tbsp coarse sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Toss butter in flour mixture to coat, then rub into flour mixture with your fingertips or a pastry cutter until mixture is sandy and no pieces of butter larger than a large pea remain.
Add in milk and vanilla, then stir batter until the dough starts to come together. Add in pears and 1/3 cup pistachios and continue to mix carefully until dough comes together into a slightly sticky ball.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a log roughly 3 inches across and 1 inch high. Divide log into 8 even pieces (roughly 2″x3″) and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with a little bit of milk and sprinkle with remaining pistachios and coarse sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Makes 8.

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  • Shikha @ Shikha la mode
    November 18, 2013

    Look great! I usually put heavy cream instead of milk – what are your thoughts on that?

  • Nicole
    November 18, 2013

    Shikha – Heavy cream will make the scones a bit moister than milk will, but since these scones have fresh pears in them, they don’t tend to get dry. You can easily substitute cream instead of milk, however, and get great results.

  • cali
    February 1, 2014

    Hi! I just made these and I look forward to trying them. Right now they are cooling off after coming out of the oven. I have a question–why should we put drizzle milk on top? What kind of effect does that give? My scones are golden on some parts but not all over. The surface on some of the tops are still white.

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