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Prune, Oat, and Spelt Scones

A quick note to say: make these scones! They’re superduper amazing. You should make the whole batch and freeze a bunch to improve future mornings. They are definitely best served hot from the oven.

The recipe is from The Violet Bakery Cookbook, a book that I am slowly growing to love. I didn’t trust it for a long time (see issues below), I don’t believe some of the recipes and there are some conversion problems between weight and volume. But the book is very beautiful and the kind of dumb dreamy read that I often enjoy. I was surprised (and happy!) by how far it made its way through the recent Piglet [1] cookbook competition this year, which is partially what prompted me to use the book more. You can read those reviews to get more perspective on the book.

I also really loved the raspberry and star anise muffins from the book, though again those really are best fresh from the oven. Didn’t care about the cinnamon rolls, though I didn’t dislike them. I’ve avoided all of the recipes containing chocolate, though it seems like those are the ones other reviewers are trying and liking. Have you cooked from the book? Let us know what else to try/avoid.

There are some things I do not understand about this recipe. Like, why is there so little tea to steep the prunes in? Why not just brew a cup of tea so the prunes get a proper soaking?I know in part because you end up spreading the tablespoon or so of leftover tea on top of the scones, but surely that liquid would just ride along with the prunes if they had a more proper soaking.  Why do you tear the prunes after steeping instead of just chopping them before steeping? Also, and this is just personal preference, I think there are a little too many prunes here. I think it should be closer to 8 ounces, instead of 10. It will still seem like a lot as you start to tear them up and cover the dough. In fact, almost the entire surface of the dough will be covered in prunes. That it okay, because once they bake they will puff up quite a bit and spread out. I used weight measures when baking baking these, so can’t vouch for volume. The recipe below is basically the original, so make any adjustments you agree with from my recommendations.

But seriously brilliant scones. Go for it!

Prune, Oat, and Spelt Scones (from The Violet Bakery Cookbook [2] by Claire Ptak)

Butter a 1/4 sheet pan and line with parchment paper.

Put the prunes in a small bowl and pour the hot tea over them. Toss to coat, and then set aside.

In a bowl, combine the oats, spelt flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk together. Use a pastry cutter to cut the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients. continue until it resembles coarse meal.

In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, eggs, maple syrup, and yogurt. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out.  Tear the soaked prunes into bite sized pieces and dot on top. Push the prunes into the dough, then pour the remaining liquid from the soaked prunes over the top and spread flat with an icing spatula or rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 390°F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pop the chilled scone mixture out of the pan and cut into 12 triangles. Do this buy cutting the block in half lengthwise. Cut each half into three squares and then cut each square into two triangles. (This is when you can freeze any scones you do not want to bake right now. They can be baked from frozen.) Place the scones you want to bake on the lined baking sheet(s) about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with egg wash, sprinkle with the remaining oats, and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden.