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 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 by Claire Ptak)

  • 1/4 cup strongly brewed Earl Grey tea
  • 10 ounces (300g) pitted prunes
  • 2 cups (200g) rolled oats, plus more for topping
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 g) whole grain spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup (80g) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (300g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup (250g) plain yogurt
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, for egg wash

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.


27 comments to “Prune, Oat, and Spelt Scones”

  1. What a strange scone recipe with eggs, yogurt and maple syrup as the wets. I’m glad you tried it because I would have skipped it after seeing the ingredients. Now I may give it a second chance.

  2. Wouldn’t like a prune overload scone, that’s for sure. Balance is very important.

  3. Ok, I’ve been eyeing this recipe, so now I’m going to dive in. I really love the rye brownie recipe although I’ve gleaned from the internets as of late that they’re strangely controversial and not everyone feels similarly.. But I think they’re super fudgy and delicious. Thanks for the nudge towards these, Tim.

  4. I bought prunes so I could make these, but hadn’t gotten around to making them yet, so this is the nudge I need (I did make coffee cake from “Ovenly” with some of said prunes, which was very good). I made the blondies from “The Violet Bakery” cookbook yesterday and the are fantastic.

  5. These sound so wholesome and delicious! I love scones with a warm mug of coffee or tea!

  6. I really wanted to love this book. Sadly, after multiple disappointments, I’m beginning to wonder if Violet is best used as inspiration (everything sounds wonderful!) instead of instruction. Lemon drizzle loaf, olive oil sweet wine cake and the ginger cake did not rise properly for me. I even did a second go with some adjustments on all three and still had flat results. A friend has had similar problems with the toffee hazelnut cake. The devil’s food cake was the biggest fail – “one 8 in cake” are you kidding me? The quantity of batter filled THREE pans and the salted caramel icing recipe is absurdly short of butter. The recipe, as written, whips up sugary cement. I’m curious to try the scones and muffins based on your post, but I refuse to waste more ingredients on cakes that I’m not convinced were fully tested. Despite the frustration, it is still sitting on my shelf and I will say it is as lovely looking as a baked goods book can be. I still want to make the loganberry birthday cake, the spelt almond summer cake and the red plum victoria sponge, but I will rely on Ptak only for ingredient inspiration and I’ll be turning elsewhere for recipe guidance. Also, I’m surprised the brownie recipe has garnered so much attention. It’s a 9×13″ version of Tartine’s salted chocolate rye cookie. Anyone tried something savory from the book?

  7. I recently got this book, and it is really beautiful in that dreamy Nigel Slater kind of way. I think you’ve mentioned you’re pretty meh on chocolate, but I’m excited to try the Violet rye chocolate brownies first. Did you ever try the Tartine salted chocolate rye cookies? Rye matches so well with chocolate, adding this extreme fudgy quality. Anyway, this scone recipe caught my eye too and I’m glad to have your take on it when I make it!

  8. Jam- do you think any of the problems with those recipes were conversion problems between weight/volume? One of the Piglet judges pointed out that they noticed problems. It is such a bummer than people do not take recipe testing/editing seriously. I can accept a couple of errors in a document as big as a cookbook but not more than a couple. I really do think the worst offenders are restaurants and professional chefs.

  9. I haven’t made anything yet from Violet but my daughter said to me when I showed it to her yesterday “that all British cookbooks have that same lovely aesthetic” and I think there’s some truth to that…I’ve enjoyed making things from the Honey &Co baking book but always need to add maybe 10 mins to baking times but otherwise the recipes are reliable as far proportions go, etc.

  10. Possibly, but I followed all recipes by weight and I’m assuming that is the more reliable route with this book. I also appreciated that notice in the Piglet review. I agree that these problems arise primarily in restaurant books. I fear that they sometimes simply take their version of the recipe and do some quick math before printing. Then again, sometimes you are pleasantly surprised. I have found the Gjelina dessert recipes to be reliable – something I wasn’t expecting. Anyhoot. Please do share any further Violet successes or failures!

  11. This book making it so far is what made me want to give it a chance because frankly recipes for things like chocolate chip cookies and gingersnaps (which I already have spectacular recipes for) or brownies with different flours (check out the the teff brownies from Alice Medrich) or things like croissant bread pudding really weren’t doing anything for me. Even then, it was these scones and the apricot muffins and the hype for the blondies that finally gave me the push to put it on my list. But reading these comments makes me want to reconsider, along with her love of American buttercream and standard cream cheese frostings, which I’ve never liked because I can’t abide how sweet they are. So, it’s one that I think I’ll ultimately pass on.

  12. Hey Tim. These scones look delicious. Non-transition-transition: I made beet-honey ice cream recently and it was killer, and I thought of you because it’s a super delicious and interesting flavor that isn’t chocolate. All I did was steep 1 beet (peeled, shredded, fresh) in the dairy (I use 1 1/2 cups each cream and whole milk) of my favorite ice cream base for 4 minutes, strain by pressing gently, then proceed as usual subbing 1/4 cup of the sugar with honey. Passing along in case you want to try.

  13. I mostly love this cookbook.

    I’ve made (in order of best to worse) –

    1) The butterscotch blondies – FABULOUS
    2) I did love the cinnamon rolls
    3) salted caramel sauce – very good, but SK’s is better and easier
    4) salted caramel buttercream (need more caramel)
    5) strawberry ginger scones – COLOSSAL disaster. Dough never came together. Baked anyway, more like a muffin. What is up? I’ve made (literally) hundreds of scones in my life and never had a problem like that.

  14. Sally- Thanks for this list, super useful. I am really bummed to hear about those scones because they sounded so good. I guess we can adapt them for ourselves.

  15. Tim – yes, the flavor combination (ginger, scones, poppy seeds) was wonderful. I was so disappointed that I didn’t even think of using another recipe and editing it, but that’s a great idea. I always have great success with Ina Garten’s scones, and love the ones from Ovenly – have you tried them?

  16. Hi Sally, I haven’t tried the scones in the Ovenly book yet. I was so into that book when it came out and then somehow forgot about it. I’ll look at it again tonight. Thanks for reminding me!

  17. Tim,

    Thank you for recommending this recipe! I’m going to make the scones this weekend. Although I have not baked anything from this cookbook yet, I’m excited to try a few recipes, mainly the savory scones and the famous blondies.

    Also, I completely agree with Sally. The Ovenly scone recipe is fantastic and well written! I get rave reviews at the office every time I bring them in.

  18. When I made these scones, I steeped the prunes in tangerine juice, fresh squeezed from maybe two or three small cuties. My toddler loved the prunes and ate a few before we got them all on, so the proportions worked out nicely :)

    I also made a version of these scones around christmas, subbing out some of the maple syrup for molasses and adding in crystalized ginger, but omitting the prunes.

    Lastly, I made the buckwheat apple scones. Is buckwheat flour a different color (or should I say colour?) over in the UK? Her picture of the scone looks SO pale in comparison to what mine looked like! They still tasted good, though, but I really had to wonder if they used buckwheat flour or what.

  19. I made these this weekend because the combination of earl gray tea, prunes and oat scones sounded too perfect to resist. And it was a perfect taste combo. Wonderful! But somehow not my perfect oat scone. I wanted something more tender and buttery, less cakey. It took me a while to remember where I had oat scones like that, but I finally got it. Therefore, last night I made up a batch of Kim Boyce’s excellent oatmeal scones and filled them with bits of earl gray tea soaked prunes and they were perfect! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  20. I recently made the salted rye brownies and they turned out pretty good, but they needed about 10-15 more minutes cook time here in my kitchen. The brownies were a bit too gooey (is that possible, yes!) and I knew better… but trusted the book. I liked the ingredient proportions for the most part (perhaps a bit too chocolatey, but barely).

    I like the book so far, but more testing to come — I think these scones will be next.

  21. Hi there – I tried to make these and I think I followed the recipe down to a T but… instead of tall, flaky scones I got a short, spongy “coffee cake”. Any tips?

  22. Hi Lou- I don’t think of scones as flaky or tall. Maybe we have different expectations of scones? These should be cakey with a crunchy exterior, out of the oven.

  23. I count myself lucky because I’ve had terrific results from the Violet Bakery Cookbook. I’ve tried numerous sweet and savory recipes since I picked up a copy. The Butterscotch Blondies are fantastic, the Lemon Drizzle Loaf was subtle-but-delicious, and the Egg Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies might be my favorite ever if I didn’t already worship the Jacques Torres-adapted recipe I (and countless others) got from Orangette. The savory tarts have become a staple, and I’m embarrassed to say how much I love the Kale, Leek & Ricotta Bread Pudding–which I might never have tried, but I let my partner pick the menu that night. She also picked the Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake with Salted Caramel Icing, which I made into cupcakes. Delicious. Hope more folks enjoy this book as much as I do!

  24. HELP. I am making this right now!
    Mixed butter in to dry ingredients – it is NOT a corse meal but instead a sticky dough….
    Afraid if I add wet ingredients it will just turn into slop.
    Please advise.

  25. Hi Petra- Not sure what has gone wrong. But cutting cold butter into dry ingredients should not result in a sticky dough. Maybe your butter wasn’t cold? Or your kitchen was too hot? Or you measured something incorrectly. I’ve made these several times with no trouble. At this point not much you can do but proceed forward and hope for the best….

  26. Tim!
    That’s what I did!
    Hanks for your reply💎
    I will let you know what happens!

  27. That’s pretty great these use all spelt and oats and no all purpose! How rare.
    I have to say, I just made the chocolate chip cookies from there and love them!
    They only use egg yolks, and you freeze the dough before baking.
    My new favorite. Though I am not sure about the rest of the book!

What do you think?