Today I did some baking for my book group, which has been reading “Seabiscuit” by Laura Hillenbrand. I can see why the book has received so many accolades; it’s wonderful… and it goes beyond the story of a horse, it’s the context of the 1930s and the lives of all the characters involved that make it such an interesting read. I can’t really add anything new to what’s already been said about the book but will just say that if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.
If you’re familiar with the story of Seabiscuit you may recall that his stable mate was a palomino horse named Pumpkin. What could be more fitting to bake, then, than Pumpkin Tea Biscuits! I made them for my book group, even though none of the other members will actually be able to taste them… we have an online group with “virtual meetings.” It’s the thought that counts, right?
I ended up combining a couple of different scone and biscuit recipes to come up with my Pumpkin Tea Biscuits, and they turned out beautifully. The glaze is optional, but makes these a lovely sweet treat with a cup of tea.
Pumpkin Tea Biscuits
Preheat oven to 425 F (if you have a convection oven, set it to 400)
Toast 1/3 cup chopped pecans in a dry pan, and set aside. (This is my favourite part… I love the smell and flavour of toasted pecans and use them whenever I can!)
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 cups flour
4 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Cut in 1/2 cup butter, and set aside. (I used to do this with two knives but I finally have a food processor, which does the job a hundred times better, in a matter of seconds)
In a separate bowl, whisk together:
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup half-and-half or light cream
1 large egg
2 tbsp. honey
I used some amazing Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey that our Australian friends brought us. It’s got a unique flavour, and I love the label, too.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and add the pecans.
Form the dough into a ball, but don’t over-mix it. Put it on a lightly floured surface and knead it just a few times. It’s important not to over-work biscuit dough.
Cut triangles with a knife, or cut out circles with a round cutter or a glass. If you use a cutter, do as my mum always said and push it straight in and lift it out, don’t twist it. This helps the biscuits come out flaky.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until the biscuits start to turn light brown. Cool on a wire rack.
For the glaze, mix together:
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp. milk
I added about 1/4 tsp. of Penzey’s Apple Pie Spice. You could also use some nutmeg and cinnamon.
Drizzle the glaze over the biscuits, and enjoy!