Ginger Scones with(out) Plum Compote

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Scones are one of my favorite things to eat with my coffee. These tender, delicious beauties are laced with candied ginger. Absolutely delicious, with or without the plum compote.

Imagine your eight year-old daughter is in the basement. In the depths of that dark, dirt-floored place are men, boys really. Your daughter is sitting on the lap of one of these visitors. Her long red braided pigtails are hanging halfway down her back as she listens to him sing to her softly. He’s singing Christmas carols. She can’t understand the language in which their being sung, but your daughter knows the tune well enough to recognize what it is.

Imagine your teenage son is running across a field. The sun is shining and for the moment he hasn’t a care in the world. As he bursts through the hedgerow to the road on the other side, he surprises a group of men that are in the road and all eyes turn to him as he stops abruptly. Your son stands absolutely still, as though his life hangs in the balance. In front of him, a man gives a derisive snort and the group moves on down the road.

Imagine that there’s a new law in your country. When your child turns eighteen, he will be taken away from you and put in a camp where he’ll work. There is no return from this camp. Children who go there work until they can’t anymore. Your son, the one who was running through the field, is 17. It’s the morning of June 6 and you’re sitting at the table looking at the calendar because in three weeks your son will have a birthday, but this year, there will be no celebration.

Imagine that your grandmother and grandfather were hiding American soldiers in their basement as the young men made their way across Belgium to free the country. Your mom sat on a lap, listening to Christmas carols.

Imagine that your father burst through a hedge into the middle of a German platoon, a platoon that held his life in its hands for those brief moments before the man in charge decided that that life wasn’t worth taking.

Imagine your grandparents hearing the chants and cheers as the news that the Americans have landed in France reaches them and they realize that their son was safe from being sent to a German work camp to work and die.

It is because of American soldiers that my parents are alive. It is because of these brave men and women that a red-headed Belgian was able to meet a French professor, that they would fall in love, get married and have children; like me.

I am grateful and I will always, always remember.

Happy Memorial Day.

The Process

Yes, there was a scone recipe in this Donna Hay magazine. And, of course there’s no way I’d get to the end of the month without making it. Silly you if you thought otherwise.

You’ve probably noticed that there’s no plum compote on my scones. Oops. I thought I had plums but I have nectarines instead. That’s ok though, because I’m not a big fan of anything on my scones except a bit of powdered sugar or glaze.

Instead of making the compote, I did make my own candied ginger (what Donna calls glacé ginger). If you haven’t, you should instead of buying a box of the stuff. It’s easy and costs a lot less. I fall back to one of my favorite chef’s recipes, Alton Brown’s Candied Ginger.

The recipe itself is simple. Buttermilk replaces all butter, which was a unique way of making these. It was a bit soupy when I had mixed everything. I guess my sifting was too good, so I had to add more flour than was called for in order to get a dough that had any kind of structure.

The Verdict

Ginger scones are my favorite and this is one to rival the recipe I’ve been using. It’s delicious. I like the fact that it doesn’t use butter. That’s always a plus in my book. They are tender and have that lack of sweetness that makes the scone such a favorite for me. Hubby liked them as well, which is saying a lot since he’s lost his ‘scone love’ over these past months. Maybe I do make them too often.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Not a thing.

Ginger Scones with(out) Plum Compote from Donna Hay Magazine, Summer 2012
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Baked Good
Cuisine: English
Serves: 10
  • 2 cups self-rising flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped glacé ginger
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk, plus extra, for brushing
  • ⅔ cup single (pouring cream)
  • confectioner's sugar and double (thick) cream, to serve

Plum Compote
  • 1½ pounds fortune or blood plums, stones removed and quartered*
  • ½ cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Place the flour-sugar and ginger in a bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and cream. Use a butter knife to gradually mix the milk and cream into the flour mixture until just combined.
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently bring the dough together. Roll out to 2 cm thick and use a 6 cm round cutter to cut 10 rounds from the dough. Place the scones on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and brush with the extra buttermilk.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  4. To make the compote, place the plums, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and cook for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Allow to cool. Dust scones with icing sugar and serve with the compote and cream. Makes 10
  5. *Ensure your plums are very ripe or add a little extra sugar, to taste.


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