When it comes to scones, pastry chef Erin McDowell doesn’t mess around. Take these pecan pie scones: They’re hefty, buttery and mega flaky, thanks to layers of real pie crust folded into the dough.
“The scone dough is studded with big chunks of pecans and pieces of sugary baked pie dough,” explains the author of The Fearless Baker. “But the real key is the easy-to-make caramel that you sandwich in the center of the dough before slicing. It gets gooey in the oven and brings the whole thing to another level.”
Breakfast or dessert? We’ll let you be the judge.
1 single-crust pie crust (homemade or store bought)
Egg wash, as needed
Turbinado sugar, as needed
⅓ cup (66g) dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
2¾ cups (331g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (106g) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (113g) cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
¾ cup (170g) cream, plus more for brushing
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (170g) pecans, roughly chopped
Turbinado sugar, as needed for finishing
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Make the Pie Crust: Roll out the pie crust on a lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thick. Transfer to the baking sheet, brush evenly with egg wash and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.
3. Dock the pastry all over with a fork. Place another piece of parchment on top of the dough, then place a second baking sheet on top of the parchment.Bake until the pastry is evenly golden brown (you can lift the baking sheet to check as needed), 15 to 17 minutes. Cool completely.
4. Make the Caramel Filling: In a small pot, heat the brown sugar, cream, butter and salt over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
5. Make the Scones: Line the baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and toss so that each cube is coated well with flour.
6. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it’s about the size of peas. Add the cream and vanilla, and mix to combine. Crumble the pie crust over the dough along with the pecans. Mix gently to combine.
7. Divide the dough into two even pieces. On a lightly floured surface, pat half the dough into a circle about ½ inch thick. Spread the cooled caramel sauce onto the center of the dough, leaving about ½ inch uncovered all the way around.
8. Pat out the second piece of dough to ½ inch thick and gently place on top of the caramel sauce. Press around the edge to seal. Chill for 15 minutes.
9. Cut the dough into 8 even triangles and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the surface of each scone with cream and garnish with turbinado sugar. Bake until the scones are evenly golden brown and appear set on the surface, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool at least 12 minutes before serving.