Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pistachio Cardamom Scones

Another spin on a classic ATK recipe - the cream scone. This is a super traditional scone recipe, and more balanced than most I've tried. The combination of cardamom and pistachios was something I tried this winter for the first time at a local coffee joint who had recently began making their own baked goods. I had never made scones before and have eaten many, yet this particular scone broke me down and I had to make scones immediately... mainly since I can't afford to shell out the near $3 for one every day.

I did however splurge on really good cardamom at a local spice shop. Since I don't have a mortar and pestle yet, I regretfully couldn't get the exotic green cardamom pods. If you have the opportunity to make these with freshly ground pods, please do! I know that the little pieces infusing the dough would give an intoxicating scent and flavor. These were still good with the already ground I purchased, which was very fresh, fragrant, and with instructions to only use half of what a recipe calls for since it is more potent than most. I followed this advice and only used a 1/2 tsp instead of the full one that my instincts were shouting at me... and it was not quite enough. A full tsp would have been overdoing it a bit, yet a hefty 1/2 would have been perfect. 

Since this is such a simple recipe with few ingredients, it should be important to use higher quality dairy products - especially since there is so much of them. They should definitely be organic, and not on their last legs as far as shelf life.

As with all scones, these are best shortly out of the oven, but will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container, or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.


2 c AP flour, + extra for counter
3 Tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
heaping 1/2 tsp Penzey's brand ground cardamom or heaping 1 tsp other brand
5 Tbsp unsalted organic butter, cut in to 1/2" cubes and chilled
1/2 shelled salted pistachio
1 c + 2 Tbsp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and ensure there is a rack in middle of oven. Blend flour, sugar, powder, salt, and cardamom in food processor till well combined. Sprinkle butter evenly over the flour mixture and pulse till it resembles coarse cornmeal. A couple of larger lumps of butter is normal. Add the pistachios and pulse a few times.

Dump this mixture into a bowl and add 1 cup chilled cream. Stir with rubber spatula until the mixture just comes together. Empty out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead just until the dough comes together. Press the dough into a roughly 9 inch circle with your fingers, then cut into 8 triangular pieces using a sharp knife or a bench scraper. 

Carefully transfer scones (you may want to use your bench scraper or a spatula to do this) to a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the 2 Tbsp cream, followed by a sprinkling of the 2 tsp sugar. 

Place into oven and bake for about 12 minutes or a tad longer, depending on your oven. They should be just golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes to ensure they set up properly before devouring. Or, eat immediately like we always do and never regret it. The texture is different, but in this case we don't care. Its still awesome.

This recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Cream Scones


  1. Oh Im crazy about cardamom lately, this recipe sounds amazing, thanks!

    1. This recipe is a little shy on cardamom - if you end up trying the recipe, maybe bump it up to 1 to 1 1/2 tsp to really get a full cardamom punch!