When it comes to my favorite fall drink, I would have to choose chai. I love the combination of strong black tea and milk with cardamom. I usually have at least two cups during the day, after breakfast and then again in the afternoon. To get as much chai flavor in these scones as possible, I steeped the contents of two chai tea bags in the cream before adding it to the dough.
Notes on Ingredients
Chai Tea Bags – I used Tazo organic chai, which is black tea spiced with ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and star anise.
Cardamom – Freshly ground pods will produce the best flavor.
Black Pepper – Use finely ground pepper so that the flavor is more dispersed and there aren’t any crunchy pieces.
Ginger – You can substitute 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger for the 1/8 teaspoon of powder.
Cream – I used heavy whipping cream in this recipe – cream that is about 36% fat. Make sure not to use lighter cream, or the scones may turn out too wet.
Pear – Make sure to use a ripe pear – the juice gives the scones some extra liquid.
Vanilla – you can substitute 1 ½ teaspoons of extract for the ½ vanilla bean.
Notes on Technique
- When making the chai cream, try not to let it boil. If it does, a skin will form on top of the cream and it will trap some of the spices. If it does form, just remove it after the cream has cooled down.
- Measure the amount of cream after steeping and straining the chai. If there is less than ¾ of a cup, add a little more cream to reach that amount. If there is a little too much, you can set the excess aside to use in a hot drink.
- I like to use a food processor to cut the butter into the flour whenever I make scones, biscuits, or pie crust. If you are not using a food processor, I recommend using a pastry blender. The food processor I used to make these holds 14 cups.
- Use cold butter when you are making scones! Keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
- Cut the butter into the flour quickly. If the butter gets too soft, you will notice the dough becoming greasy. If this happens, the scones may spread too much during baking. You can prevent this from happening by chilling them for 15-20 minutes before putting them in the oven.
- If you are using a food processor, move the flour/butter mixture to a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the cream and egg mixture and the pear. I like to add the pear at this point because it releases so much juice during mixing that it might as well be considered a wet ingredient.
- Once the dough is mixed, shape it into a ball and move it to a well floured surface. Press it with your hands and shape it into a disk that is 8 inches in diameter.
- Use a bench knife to cut an 8 pointed star pattern in the center, then cut all the way to the edges to get 8 scones that are equal in size. Move them to the baking sheet, making sure to leave plenty of space in between them.
- Sifting the powdered sugar will keep the glaze from being lumpy. Mix the vanilla into the cream first, then whisk it slowly into the sugar – this will also help prevent any new lumps from forming.
Chai Infused Pear Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze
For the Chai Infused Cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream (235 ml)
- 2 chai tea bags
For the Scones:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (310 g)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ginger or 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/8 tsp finely ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp butter, cubed and very cold (85 g)
- 3/4 cup chai cream (180 ml)
- 1 large egg
- 1 medium pear, chopped into small pieces
Vanilla Bean Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar (200 g)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1/4-1/3 cup heavy cream (60-80ml)
Chai Infused Cream
- In a 1 qt saucepan, add 1 cup of heavy cream. Snip open the 2 teabags and pour the contents into the cream. Bring to a simmer on low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, not allowing the cream to boil. Turn off the heat and allow the chai to steep and cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C) and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Strain the chai cream into a liquid measuring cup, discarding the tea leaves and large bits of spice. You should have around 3/4 of a cup - if you have less, fill the cup to 3/4 with more heavy cream. Whisk the egg into the cream. Chop the pear and set it aside.
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and black pepper to a large food processor. Mix on high until they are well combined. Then add the cubed butter and pulse until it becomes pea-sized, about 5-8 pulses. If you are not using a food processor, use a pastry blender to chop the butter into the flour.
- Move the flour and butter mixture to a large mixing bowl and shape a well in the center. Into this well, pour the cream and egg mixture and add the chopped pear. Stir these into the flour until it forms a large mass, being careful not to overwork.
- On a floured rolling surface, shape the dough into a flattened disc with an 8 inch (20.5 cm) diameter. Use a bench knife to make 4 cuts across the disc, forming 8 scones.
- Transfer the scones to the baking sheet and bake at 400° F (200° C) until the edges begin to brown, about 15-17 minutes. Allow them to cool for about 30 minutes before glazing.
Vanilla Bean Glaze
- Whisk the scraped vanilla seeds into the cream. Sift the cup of powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the cream gradually to avoid lumps. Drizzle or spoon the glaze over the scones. You can store the scones for up to 3 days at room temperature, or up to 5 days in the refrigerator.