It’s not that I’m repetitive, exactly. It’s just that I sort of tend to… fixate on certain foods. There was September, for example, when I ate granola-and-frozen-banana-and-berries-and-soy-milk-and-peanut-butter for dinner for, um, the whole month (no regrets, man, no regrets). For the last two weeks, it’s been scones: three batches, to be precise. I live alone, and if I think about how many scones that means I’ve eaten singlehandedly, I get a little embarrassed.
But these are seasonally-appropriate scones, studded with jewel-coloured dried fruits, bright chips of green pistachios, and a seam of sweet marzipan; and if you were looking for a Christmas Day breakfast for your family, you got it. There’s none of the yeast-induced faffing of real stollen – these scones come together in just moments – but with all of the sweetness and brightness (this is the season of sweetness, right? Just checking). Plus, the idea itself may or may not have been appropriated from a certain major coffee shop chain – so if you’ve seen these while picking up your lavender earl grey soy latte, now you get your own, homebaked, vegan option. May your breakfast be merry and bright.
A note on ingredients: a lot of commercial marzipan is vegan (if you’re in the UK, I know Tesco and Asda’s own brands are), but in recipes online, egg whites are commonly used. If you’re buying marzipan from a shop, check the ingredients list! If not, I’ve included a literally-ten-second recipe for vegan marzipan below, in the quantity these scones call for. I prefer homemade, as I can leave out the almond essence, of which I am not a fan, and just have the subtler, natural taste of the almonds themselves. But, of course, your call. Likewise, if you’re somewhere where non-dairy yoghurt is not available (like say, oh, Japan no I’m not bitter about this what do you mean), I use my own faker version!
- 280g (2 c.) plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- Zest of 1 satsuma
- 60g (1/2 stick) vegan margarine
- 50g (1/4 c.) white sugar
- 120ml (1/2 c.) non-dairy yoghurt
- 1-2 Tbsp soy or almond milk
- 90ml (1/3 c.) mixed dried fruit/peel
- 90ml (1/3 c.) shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1 recipe (below) marzipan, or 1/3 c.
- Preheat oven to 220C (420F).
- Whisk the first eight ingredients together to combine, and add to the margarine, rubbing together with your fingers to make a reasonably fine-crumbed mixture. Stir in the sugar, then the dried fruit and chopped pistachios.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and add the yoghurt, gently working in with a round-bladed knife to form a soft dough. Work in any loose bits with the non-dairy milk, one tbsp at a time. Don’t overwork!
- Lift the ball of soft dough out of the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Now, take your marzipan and flatten to roughly the size of your palm, then dice into cubes (experimentation tells me that I like fairly large chunks; your call). Scatter on the top of your scone dough, then fold the whole thing in half and knead a couple of times to check it’s all glued together and free of cracks.
- Use your hands to shape this into a disk, around 1-1/2 inches in height, then cut into six wedges by pressing down firmly and quickly with a sharp knife – don’t twist it. Place the wedges on a lined baking sheet, and if you like, brush with extra non-dairy milk and sprinkle with raw sugar.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until risen and golden, then cool on a wire rack, uncovered. Eat warm, but these also freeze wonderfully and yes, I have been known to eat them still-frozen straight out of the freezer. No judgment, please.
Anna Broster began writing papillon when her real-life friends got tired of hearing her talk about food, mostly as an outlet for her crazy, vegan, liberal agenda and compulsive need to narrate her life. Originally from England, she is currently living and working in Nagasaki, Japan – on the one hand, this is amazing, but on the other, you should see how hard it is to get peanut butter. She is permanently attached to her camera.