Pear and Almond Scones

20171016_083230 (1)
Pear and almond scones with sides of clotted cream and pear butter

These are the best scones I’ve ever made. Pears and almonds were clearly meant for each other. I offered clotted cream and pear butter on the side with these this morning, since I had some of both, but that just turns them into straight up dessert. The only accompaniment they really need is a hot mug of your favorite tea.

The first time I whipped these up was just a month or so ago, but it’s pear season and I keep picking or buying them from farms and patiently waiting for them to ripen. Pears are unusual in that they don’t ripen on the tree, but only after picking. This works out well because so many other fruits that I like to pick demand to be dealt with as soon as I get them home. For this recipe, try to use moderately ripe but still somewhat firm pears. If they’re super ripe, they’ll become mushy when you roast them.

After making this recipe a few times, I feel confident that I’m recommending the right amount of liquid to bring the dough together. But I’ll also share with you a tip for scone making that I learned from the Cheeseboard Cooperative’s cookbook. They suggest having a little extra cream and/or buttermilk on hand, and gradually adding it if the dough isn’t coming together and there’s still lots of dry flour in the bowl. I’ve definitely made some scone recipes where an extra tablespoon was required, and then there were even ones where I was sure the recipe was off by a 1/4 cup of liquid. It’s not just you… it’s that the air is more or less humid that day, your flour is retaining more or less moisture, etc.

A few special notes:

  • I highly recommend getting a pastry cutter for integrating cold butter into flour. I’ve tried a few kinds and the wire type pictured below works best. I use it for scones, as well as pastry/pie crusts.
  • I had a hard time finding almond paste recently (not marzipan, which has more sugar, and is used for candy making), so I ordered several 8 oz. boxes of it from Amazon recently. Zero regrets. 😉


  • 3 pears or about 1 pound of ripe but somewhat firm pears
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 4 oz. of almond paste, cut into little squares or grated
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs (1 for the dough and 1 for brushing the scone tops)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for the egg wash
  • (optional) 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small chunks (refrigerator cold, not frozen)
  • (scant) 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • sliced almonds
Pear and almond scone batter before pressing and cutting


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Peel, core, and cut the pear into roughly 1-inch chunks. Spread the pears onto the baking sheet and roast for about 20 mins. They should be lightly browned and dry on the surfaces when done. (My pears were less ripe and in bigger pieces than the first time I made these, so they took more like 35 mins. to roast. But the scones turned out oh-so-good with perfect caramelized chunks of pear.)
  3. Whisk the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. (You could tackle these first three steps the night before to save time the morning of.)
  4. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the butter is integrated and is about the size of small peas. Gently stir in the almond paste and the pear pieces with a large spoon.
  5. Whisk the egg and then add it along with the cream and almond extract to the flour mixture. Mix gently until the dough starts to come together. If there’s lots of dry flour still, add a drizzle of additional cream to the mixture and stir gently. Try not to stir aggressively in order to avoid smashing the pear pieces, which will make the dough really sticky.
  6. Drop the dough onto your parchment paper and flour your hands a bit. Press the dough by hand into a round about 1 1/2 inches tall. Cut into 6 wedges. Spread the wedges a few inches apart on the baking sheet.
  7. Whisk an egg with a dash of salt and a teaspoon of water, and brush the tops of the scones lightly. Sprinkle a little sugar, and then a few almond slices on each scone and put them in the oven.
  8. Bake for 25 – 28 mins. until they are lightly browned.
  9. Let cool on wire rack for 5 – 10 mins. and serve.
20171016_081254 (1)
Pear and almond scones fresh from the oven

Pear Butter

My daughter refers to my pear butter as “Beau bear cheek butter,” because it’s as silky smooth and delicious as her baby cousin’s cheeks! But you don’t have to just take our word for it — pear butter is easy to make at home on your own! Since it cooks down quite a bit, I recommend making a batch when you have at least 4 pounds of pears, but you could easily cook more. I also enjoy spicing it up quite a bit, with vanilla bean, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, etc., but you can use as much or as little of these as you like, or have on hand.



(makes about 5 half-pint jars)

  • 4 – 5 pounds of ripe pears, peeled, cored, and quartered (this produced 7 cups puree)
  • lemon juice to prevent the cut fruit from browning (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups – 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar*
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger

* Note: White sugar works fine too, or you can do a mix of brown and white sugars. I recommend starting with the smaller quantity of sugar and then adding it by the 1/2 cup as needed.



  1. Place pears in a large pot with optional lemon juice, and cover with water. Cook over medium heat for 45 mins. to an 1 hr.
  2. When pears are soft but before they break apart, strain pears and puree in blender or food processor. Pour out the cooking water. Return puree to pot. (Although I started with the pear pieces in a crockpot, I ended up transferring the puree to a big dutch oven on the stovetop, which reduced the liquid a lot faster.)
  3. Add spices and sugar to puree and stir. Heat to a low bubbling simmer and stir occasionally until mixture thickens. This will take about an hour, but depends on the surface area of your pot, and level of heat. The butter will be smooth, and drip slowly from a spoon when it’s done.
  4. While pear butter is cooking, prep your canning jars, lids, and rings according to manufacturer’s instructions. Heat a large pot of water to a boil.
  5. When the pear butter is done cooking, pour into jars leaving about a 1/4 inch of head space. Place lids and rings on jars and lower into the pot of boiling water. Make sure the water covers the lids and boil jars for about 5 mins. Remove from the water and let cool on a rack.