Martha's Dried-Apricot and Sage Scones

Sometimes you just need a scone. I grew up with my grandmother's scones and still use her extremely simple recipe when I want to make a quick batch. But I was intrigued by a recipe I found recently in the January, 2004, issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine: dried-apricot and sage scones. The imagined flavour combination sparked my curiosity and I had to try them out. I'm very glad I did!

The scones were flaky but moist and studded with soft, orange pieces of dried apricot. The real brightness of the flavour, though, comes from the addition of finely-chopped fresh sage, which infuses the batter with an unusual but perfect dash of something herbal to counteract the sweetness. (These scones smell amazing as they bake in the oven!) 

They are ideal served with a very good apricot jam at the breakfast table. I've even had them with slices of smoked turkey meat and a bit of salted butter, using them more as a sweet-and-savory biscuit. Below is the recipe. If you're a scone aficionado, I highly recommend trying these.

Dried-Apricot and Sage Scones

(Makes 8 scones)


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon fine salt

5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup chopped dried apricots (about 4 ounces)

2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh sage

1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Sanding sugar (or regular sugar) for dusting



Step one: Preheat oven to 375. Place flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Work in butter with your fingertips or with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in dried apricots and sage. Add cream. Gather mixture together with your hands until it starts to hold together. (Don’t be too rough with it; this could toughen the dough).

Step two: Place mixture onto a lightly floured work surface. Quickly bring the dough together: pat into an 8-inch round disk that is approximately one inch thick. Smooth the top gently with a rolling pin. Cut into eight wedges using a metal bench scraper or a large, sharp knife dusted with flour.

Step three: Arrange the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with cream and then dust with sanding sugar, or regular sugar if sanding sugar is not available. Bake until cooked through and lightly golden-brown, about 30 minutes. Immediately transfer scones to a wire rack to cool. Let cool at least ten minutes before serving.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Cook’s note: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.


Anonymous said...

Wow this recipe differs from the scone in the MS Entertaining "Bible" I followed the recipe not knowing what texture or flake to expect- it called for blueberries but no sugar. anyway I have been eating them not turned off but Honestly, rather curious about your Grandmothers version and how it compares--- several other recipes I consulted called for an egg --- I did use an egg wash Will you dish on the scone? Thanks AR


My grandmother's recipe is basically this one from AllRecipes.com - with a few differences: she used shortening. Her handwritten recipe is basically just a series of jot notes with measurements since she had it all committed to memory. But this is basically it here:


Anonymous said...

Thank you for that. I bet the type of flour plays a roll( HaHa) in the scheme of things. Perhaps if I used cake flour And I wonder (haha) if Canada's AP all purpose flour differs from that in the US different in that a softer flour lower gluten or what. Now that I am thinking out loud here I shall Investigate! My poor puns wonder is a brand of flour LOL thanks once again


Hmmm, I've never used cake flour for scones. It's worth a try! I think the only difference between Canadian flour and US flour would be that we use our own Canadian-grown grains to make it. The two most popular Canadian brands are Robin Hood and Five Roses. There are numerous boutique brands, too - local organic companies, et al. US flours aren't sold in Canada, generally: Heckers, King Arthur, etc., are not found here.