I do enjoy a good prune. It’s an ingredient that I’ve grown up with, having had parents who were obsessed with their daughters’ digestive health. Although, I really didn’t like them when I was young because of the threat of those darn stones (even if they are ‘pitted’). I was always so scared of chipping what little good teeth I had remaining. Nevertheless, I clearly didn’t let that stop me from eating them again in my thirties. The joy of prunes is that they are so sticky and moist, adding just a little somethin’ somethin’ in baked goods that you just can’t get with other dried fruit. Don’t even get me started on raisins or sultanas (I actually tell people I am allergic to them because I hate these shrivelled up disasters so much!) Not usually a fan of scones in general (am I sounding a bit high-maintenance… oops), but after trying these ones I may have found a new baking love. Scones are supposedly the easiest things to bake but I’ve always found them a bit problematic: the trick is not to overwork the mixture to achieve that perfect sconey texture.
The recipe below is pretty easy, and you feel a bit perky/smugly healthy eating it what with the oats and spelt. Considering the health-fad craze at the moment, I don’t want to seem like a trend follower (even though I probably am a sucker for fads), but these are very tasty and moreish despite that. In fact, probably one of the yummiest scones I’ve had in a long while. Healthy can taste really good. So there you go! The scones can easily be frozen and then magically baked when you feel the urge to have a sweet sweet bite.
Prune, oat and spelt scones
4 tablespoons Earl Grey tea
300g pitted prunes
200g jumbo rolled oats, plus extra to sprinkle
375g wholegrain spelt flour
80g light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
300g cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons maple syrup
250g plain yoghurt
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, for the wash
Line a baking tin (around 20 x 30cm) with baking parchment.
Soak the prunes in a bowl with the brewed tea.
Combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and soda and salt, then whisk together. Use a knife to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, or use your fingers to rub it until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks, eggs, maple syrup and yoghurt. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread it out. Tear the soaked prunes into pieces and dot them all over. Pour the remaining liquid from the soaked prunes over the top. Cover with clingfilm and chill for about 3 hours (or overnight ideally).
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Tip the chilled scone mixture out of the tin and cut into 12 triangles. (If you don’t want to bake them all at this stage, cut them and then wrap each triangle in clingfilm and freeze for another time.) Put the scones on the prepared tray, brush the tops with the egg wash, and sprinkle over the remaining oats. Bake for 40–45 minutes, or until golden. Best eaten as soon as possible but they will also be yummy with a bit of butter for breakfast the next day.