New Zealand/Australian scones are so like American biscuits it’s tempting to say there’s no difference between them at all. That’s not true of course. On balance they contain a little less butter and are moistened (at least the pumpkin versions) with egg instead of buttermilk, which gives them a more tender, cake-like crumb. Another big difference is that they’re frequently loaded up with flavorings like pumpkin, cheese or dates. Most Americans (especially Southern Americans) view flavored biscuits with deep suspicion, if not outright
hostility. These, however, are fantastic.
Begin by preheating your oven to 450 and setting a shelf on a high rack. Like any small quick breads, you’ll get a higher rise from a quick blast of high heat. Sift your dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Lightly beat the egg and milk together in a small bowl.
Add the butter to the dry ingredients and rub it in.
There isn’t enough butter to create a “corn meal”-like consistency, but you get the idea.
Add the pumpkin…
…and work it in by hand. You’ll get a rather shaggy dough. Don’t sweat it.
Add the egg mixture…
…and gently work it in with a spatula. Like American biscuits, you want to avoid working this dough too much.
The dough should be soft but not wet. Add another teaspoon or two of milk if it’s too dry. Transfer it to a well-floured board and pat it down to a thickness of about an inch.
Using a 2-inch cutter, cut out as many scones as you can.
Bring the scraps together, pat them back down to a 1-inch thickness and repeat the cutting until you have 12 scones.
Lay them out on a sheet pan, it need not have parchment on it (what can I say…force of habit). You can paint them with either milk or butter. Since I want a little color on the tops, I’m using butter.
Bake them 10-12 minutes until they’re well rise and lightly browned.
Serve them warm — split and slathered with jam. Tomato jam works especially well with these in my humble opinion.