Make Ahead

Vanilla Fig Scones

November  5, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 8 kind of ridiculously large scones
Author Notes

I had this whole plan to make vanilla bean budinos (because the best vanilla, I think, tends to be vanilla in creamy format) with some sort of ginger-citrus curd, maybe like fruit on the bottom. But, then this weekend when I finally had time to futz in the kitchen, the only thing I wanted to make or eat was scones. Obscenely huge, craggy scones (I get as picky about my scone texture as I do about muffins), preferably with figs in them, and vanilla. So I made that instead, adapting Joanne Chang's fabulous recipe for scones. And they were delicious! As good as budinos? Who knows. But,they hit the spot. —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

Delightful. These are rich without being heavy, crunchy, and with a delicate bite. The moist mission figs provide a nice contrast. A note for future bakers: my batch baked for exactly 30 minutes. Also, be sure to use cold ingredients when you make the dough -- it'll make a big difference. I had one of these for breakfast and froze the rest to enjoy another time! —Carolyn Z

What You'll Need
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw cane sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chilled salted butter cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chilled crème fraîche
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. The day before (or several days before) making the scones, split open your vanilla bean. Scrape out the seeds and use your fingers to blend them into the sugar. Then, add the pod to the sugar, put it all into an airtight container, and let it hang out until you're ready to bake. Remove the pod before baking (you can add it to some other sugar though to make that sugar vanilla-y for future use).
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°F. If your dried figs are quite plump, you can use them as they are. Otherwise, combine the chopped figs with the bourbon in a small bowl and allow the figs to rehydrate for 10 minutes, then drain. (You may want to do this even if your figs are plump. Who doesn't want their figs to be a bit bourbon-infused?)
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1/3 cup sugar in a large bowl. Working quickly, use your fingers (I prefer fingers because then I can get a better feel for how the dough is doing) or a pastry cutter to work in the butter until the dough resembles coarse meal or sand with a few larger pea-sized butter chunks still left as well.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Whisk together the eggs, cream, and crème fraîche, and add this mixture along with the (drained) chopped figs to the well. Stir until everything is just combined. Then, use your hands to gather the whole mess together.
  5. Dump the dough onto the counter, and pull it all together into a rough ball, and pat it into a big circle about 3/4-1 inch thick. There may be stray bits of dry flour mixture left over that won't stick to the rest of the dough. Pat on what you easily can, otherwise just leave it, it's OK.
  6. Use a dough scraper to cut the circle into 8 huge wedges (or if you are capable of more moderation in your scones than I, you can divide it into more smaller wedges and adjust the baking time accordingly). Separate the scones from each other and transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet. (At this point you can freeze the scones instead of baking them, and once they're hard, store them in an airtight container in the freezer to be baked at a future point.)
  7. Lightly brush the scones with the milk and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake the scones in the middle rack of the oven until they are golden brown and crisped on their craggy edges, 20-30 minutes. (It took only 20 minutes in my oven, but it seems to be running hot these days.)
  8. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool as much as desired. I think scones are the best served while still warm (but not hot) from the oven. But, they are also lovely at room temperature, and will keep for a day, especially if you gently warm them back up before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nicole Cardoza
    Nicole Cardoza
  • d wright downs
    d wright downs
  • susan.loch.1
  • Jimmy Hoxie
    Jimmy Hoxie
  • Leebot

35 Reviews

Nicole C. August 9, 2016
Alright. This recipe has changed my life. I had to modify it the first time I tried, and have been using that ever since: 1 cup greek yogurt instead of heavy cream, creme fraiche, and milk, no figs (I usually don't have them on hand) and 1/2 cup sugar (instead of 1/3). I make them, freeze them, and pop a couple right the oven in the morning for a treat. 350, 20mins. They come out perfect every time.
d W. March 31, 2016
HaHaHa. Just saw the remark from P. Hartmann. Comment is funny, stereo typed by surname. I lived in Europe for 7 years and scones were made differently in families in different countries of the UK. Most were less sweet than in the US, but those that did business with the tourists made them sweeter. We all change the recipes to suit our taste. My gram made berry scones for me and I was the only one she made them for. Thanks, Gram. RIP.
susan.loch.1 October 1, 2015
So if we freeze them, what are the instructions? Thaw then bake or bake frozen? How long to thaw?
fiveandspice October 6, 2015
No need to thaw them. Put them frozen directly on a baking sheet and bake them the same as you regularly would, they will just take around 10 minutes longer.
Jimmy H. January 23, 2015
Might be nice to throw in a few chunks of candied ginger as well. Sounds yummy.
Jeanneburwood January 22, 2015
Do you think I could use Greek yogurt in place of the cream fraiche?
fiveandspice January 22, 2015
I do! I think it would work fine.
Nancy January 13, 2015
Could you modify this for 1. Fresh fruit? 2. A substitution for creme fraiche? Thanks!
fiveandspice January 22, 2015
Hi Nancy. I think you could use fresh fruit in place of dried without really changing anything. You'd just have to incorporate it carefully, and just watch as you are adding liquid and add just enough. You could use Greek yogurt or sour cream in place of the creme fraiche.
Martha June 9, 2014
I made the recipe and tasted really good. I want to know if the recipe can be alternated in order to use fresh figs. I have a fig tree in my yard that produce a lot of it.
Thank toy in advance!
Leebot March 23, 2014
These are so very tasty -- the bourbon really adds a great flavor. My husband-from-Ireland thinks so too!
Scribbles March 20, 2014
I don't know how I missed this recipe! I love scones and figs and can hardly wait to try these - they sound delicious. Thanks!!
Patricia H. February 27, 2014
Eat a real scone in Scotland-they're supposed to be hard and hearty, not fluffy or light or crusty or crispy. Don't call it a scone if it ain't one.
aargersi February 28, 2014
Was this comment really necessary? Perhaps, just as there are a multitude of various types of cakes that are vastly different, there is also more than one kind of scone, and room in the world for all and people who love them.
em-i-lis February 28, 2014
It's too bad you couldn't have offered your opinion in an educational or, at least, kind way. Emily's vanilla-fig scones are absolutely delicious, one of my favorite recipes from this entire site. Just because you don't like the style doesn't mean the recipe isn't a good one. Frankly, hard anything doesn't sound real good.
em-i-lis February 28, 2014
Indeed, Abbie!
fiveandspice February 28, 2014
Thanks ladies. :)
em-i-lis April 13, 2013
Emily, these are just so awesome. I love them! Great recipe that I make repeatedly!
fiveandspice April 13, 2013
Aw, thank you so much Em. I'm so pleased that you've been loving them. I loooove them as a weekend treat. :)
mommychef November 26, 2012
maybe the best scones I have ever made (and I've made a few) light and ethereal...except I've eaten 3 so those words won't apply to me pretty soon!
fiveandspice November 26, 2012
Wow, thanks!
em-i-lis November 13, 2012
made and really enjoyed these this past weekend! lighter than air!! only thing i'd do differently next time is add more figs. the bourbon is great!
fiveandspice November 14, 2012
Yay! I'm so glad you tried the scones and liked them. You can definitely add more figs, if you like! I tend to like scones with dried fruit to be light on the fruit, and scones with fresh fruit to be over-the-top with the fruit (even though that can make them a bit soggy!).
gingerroot November 9, 2012
Fig + bourbon + scone?? Gosh, these sound like heaven.
fiveandspice November 9, 2012
Thanks Jenny!!! It's one of my dream combos. :)
EmilyC November 7, 2012
I adore scones, and this flavor combination sounds particularly delicious!
fiveandspice November 7, 2012
Thanks Em!
Midge November 6, 2012
Ooh love the Bourbon infusion option, especially with the vanilla. I'm making these next time I get a scone-hankering!
fiveandspice November 6, 2012
Thanks so much! And, those scone-hankerings must not be ignored.
mrslarkin November 5, 2012
They sound ridiculously delicious!
fiveandspice November 6, 2012
Thanks MrsL. I'd say you're the most qualified judge of scone character out there!
aargersi November 5, 2012
I have never made a scone. Perhaps it is time I start? I could make ad freeze, and bake after the 1/2 in San Antonio Sunday! (you gotta come down here for one of these some time)
fiveandspice November 5, 2012
You've never made a scone????!!! You, young lady, must do something about this! Scones, I feel, are butter and flour's highest calling, especially when you throw on just a touch of clotted/whipped cream and jam. Or not. They don't even need it. Good luck Sunday! I do wish I could be there, but we're traveling in kind of the opposite direction (West Coast bound) for some work, so it wouldn't have worked out. This spring though... (I truly need some goal to force me to kick my butt into gear and get back into shape.)
Oui, C. November 5, 2012
There is no such thing as a ridiculously large scone, especially when they taste as good as these!
fiveandspice November 5, 2012
Yeah, I agree! I'm a big scone fiend! :)