My friend, Marina, and I both know that any recipe can be made vegan. These pear chai scones are proof of that. After tasting her scones which tasted somewhere between happiness, a hug and warm spices, Marina shared the original milk-and-egg-and-butter version of this recipe with me saying “of course make it vegan.” Of course. It’s easy peasy to do by substituting applesauce or a flax egg for a chicken’s egg, any plant-based milk for the heavy cream and vegan margarine for the butter required in the original recipe.
Here’s my version with some added touches – a batch with raisins and a batch with diced candied ginger.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegan margarine
2 pears, cored, peeled and cut into small pieces (and what a great way to use up pears that look battered and bruised)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or a third pear)
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plant milk. I used almond milk.
Optional – ½ cup raisins or 1/3 cup diced candied ginger
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir together until the mix resembles a goopy brown snot (it does, sorry). Add the milk and vanilla and combine. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour, sugar and salt together. Sift in the baking powder and spices. Yes, sift. We talk about this sifting thing every time. You do not want nasty, crystalline, salty bits of baking powder showing up in your finished baking!
Cut in the margarine using a pastry blender OR use two dinner knives or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the pear chunks (but not the applesauce).
Add the flax egg mixture and the applesauce to your flour mixture. Mix lightly to combine. IF you are adding raisins or candied ginger, add that now and fold in. The dough will be very sticky.
Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Form it into a circle then flatten it using your hands until it’s just a bit less than 1” thick. You can sprinkle the top of the dough very lightly with flour too so you can work with it. Cut the circle into 8 equal wedges using a sharp knife.
Use a spatula to transfer the scones to an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the scones with a bit of sugar (I used “vanilla sugar” I had made by storing a whole vanilla bean in sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Eat up and enjoy!