I think there’s nothing more delightful than starting the day with a piping hot cup of tea and a fresh scone, still warm from the oven. I’ve made hundreds of batches of scones over the years and have to say that this new version is my absolute favourite. The subtle notes of cardamom blend magically with the not-too-sweet apricots to give these moist, rich scones a unique, alluring flavour. You could easily substitute other fruit like peaches or berries but honestly, you should try the apricot-cardamom combination at least once. It’s sublime. If you like whipped cream with your scones, infuse extra with additional cardamom seeds before whipping.
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
2 – 3 ripe apricots
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons white sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup very cold butter
- One to twelve hours before you want to make your scones, crack open the cardamom pods to extract the brown seeds. This can be done easily with a mortar and pestle. You should end up with about a teaspoon of seeds.
- Combine the cardamom seeds and cream in a microwave safe vessel (a canning jar works well) and heat gently for about 20 seconds until the cream is warm. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 12 hours to infuse the cream with the cardamom flavour.
- When ready to prepare the scones, strain the cream, discarding the cardamom seeds.
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Wash, pit and dice the apricots; measure out one cup of chopped fruit. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the baking powder and salt.
- Chop the cold butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives, work the butter into the flour until it is in very small pieces (about the size of a pea).
- Add the apricots to the flour and butter mixture; stir to coat the fruit with flour.
- Remove 1 tablespoon of the cardamom cream and set aside. Pour the remaining 4 tablespoons of the cream over the flour and fruit mixture. Stir vigorously to combine.
- With your clean hands, fold the scone dough over itself about ten times, working dry bits into the moist part of the dough. You don’t want to over work the dough as the scones will not be as light and flaky. If your bowl is broad enough, it’s easiest to do it right in the bowl; otherwise dump it out on the counter and work on it there.
- When the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Pat it into a circle that is about ¾” (2 cm) thick. The dough will be sticky as the apricot juice works its way into the mixture!
- Cut the circle into eight wedges and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved cream and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake in the lower third of the oven for 12 – 14 minutes, until the tops are beginning to turn golden and a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of a scone comes out clean.
- Transfer scones to a rack and let cool five minutes, then serve.
Makes 8 delectable scones.