Fruity blackberry and apple scones made with wholemeal spelt flour and kefir, buttermilk or sour milk to add flavour and help with the rise. They’re easy to make, light and thoroughly delicious. Perfect for foraged autumnal blackberries, although it’s fine to use frozen at any time of the year.
I went on the first blackberry forage of the year at the weekend. To be honest, I wasn’t hopeful as it’s still early in the season. Much to my surprise I found a few ripe and juicy blackberries – hoorah! The haul wasn’t large, but it was certainly enough to make some blackberry and apple scones.
Blackberries, also called brambles (Rubus fruticosus), are the foragers friend. They grow prolifically all over the UK and many other countries around the world. Unlike some wild foods, they’re fairly easy to harvest. They’re ready to pick from our hedgerows here in Britain from the beginning of August to the end of September.
Be careful when picking as blackberry bushes are covered in thorns. This is why they’re commonly called brambles. Blackberries are also very juicy and it’s almost impossible not to come away from a foraging expedition without getting covered in purple juice. The juice stains, so don’t wear anything precious.
Blackberries are delicious both cooked and raw. When they’re ready they should be black all over, but still firm. If you see any red on them, they’re not yet ripe. If they’re mushy or covered in mould, leave well alone.
Just make sure when you pick them that the centre is still green. If it’s any other colour the berry is likely to have either gone over or contain maggots.
Are Blackberries Good For You?
Like many wild foods, blackberries are indeed good for you (ref: BBC). Some people go as far as to call them a superfood. Most dark purple fruit contain anthocyanins and blackberries are a rich source of it. Anthocyanins are said to contain anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-obesity properties.
Although they contain various vitamins and minerals, they’re particularly high in vitamins C and K as well as manganese and dietary fibre (ref: Healthline).
Around ten blackberries count as one portion of your five-a-day. Or is that ten-a-day?
Blackberry and Apple Scones
Scones are really quick and easy to make, so they’re perfect if you need a delicious bake in a hurry. These blackberry and apple scones are slightly more involved as you have to prepare fresh fruit before starting the bake. But it only adds a few minutes.
These purple marbled scones don’t hold their shape as well as ordinary scones due to the juicy blackberries, but they are still light and delicious. So don’t worry about their rustic look, just bake up a batch and enjoy them with a cup of tea.
You can eat them just as they are, though they’re at their best warm from the oven. They’re also delicious spread with a little salted butter or clotted cream. They do not, however, need any jam. The blackberries effectively provide the jam element and the scones are quite sweet enough.
Blackberry and Apple Scones: Step-By-Step
When I bake scones, I go into autopilot. I’ve done it for so many years now. However, this means that the measures in my head are in ounces rather than grams and that is what I use. But don’t panic, I’ve given metric measures as well as imperial ones in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1. Create Crumb
Start by rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips to create something that’s akin to breadcrumbs. Make sure your butter is fridge cold. This may seem a bit counterintuitive, but if the butter is warm, it will melt and create quite a different consistency.
I use wholemeal spelt flour as it’s my favourite for baking. It gives a lovely light texture as well as good flavour to cakes, cookies and scones. If you want to sub this for ordinary wholemeal flour, it’s a good idea to sieve the flour through a large gauge mesh and discard the pieces of bran left in the sieve.
I like to use a mix of cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder when I make scones. I think they give a better texture. But by all means, use baking powder instead if that’s all you have. You’ll need two and a half teaspoons, not three.
2. Add Fruit
Core the apple, but there’s no need to take the skin off, unless it’s bruised or scabby. Just chop it as finely as you can. Even quite large pieces of apple will cook whilst the scones are baking. You can grate it if you prefer, but for me that’s one more piece of washing up I could do without.
Tip the apple into the flour crumbs along with the blackberries and give a good stir.
You can use frozen blackberries instead of fresh ones.
3. Add Liquid
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in most, but not all, of the liquid. Using a flat bladed knife, stir from the inside out until the mixture comes together into a dough.
As you stir you’ll release the juice from the blackberries and you don’t want the mixture to become too wet. But if it’s looking too dry, add the rest of the liquid.
Instead of milk, I use kefir for my scones. It works really well and helps the wholemeal flour to rise well. It also gives a fresh slightly tangy flavour which enhances many bakes, including scones. If you don’t have kefir, you can use buttermilk or sour milk.
I know sour milk isn’t something people tend to have in their fridges these days. However, it’s very easy to make a cheat’s version. You can find out how to do this in my gluten-free sponge cake post.
4. Cut Scones
As soon as the liquid starts to react with the raising agents, the scone dough will start rising. You want this to happen in the oven, not out of it. This means it’s important to work as quickly as you can and not get distracted by something else half way through.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it into a round approximately one inch (2 ½ cm) in depth. Don’t worry about any cracks or unevenness, these scones are meant to look rustic.
You could use a rolling pin, but the less you handle scone dough, the better it is. If you overwork the dough, your scones are likely to be tough rather than tender.
Use a six centimetre (2 ½ inch) cutter or glass to press into rounds. Flour the cutter well in between each cut to prevent it from sticking. Gather up any leftover dough and keep going until you have no dough left.
Form the last few offcuts into a scone shape with your hands so that you don’t waste any of the dough.
5. Bake Scones
Place the scones, well apart, onto a non-stick or greased baking tray and pop into the oven immediately. You’ll know they’re done when they’re a nice golden colour and the bottoms sound hollow when you tap them.
Try not to over bake your scones or they will be dry. And dry scones are horrid.
How To Add Extra Flavour to Blackberry and Apple Scones
These blackberry and apple scones are tasty all by themselves, you don’t really need any other flavourings. However, if you want to ring the changes or try something different, why not try one of the following?
- Vanilla: add a teaspoon of vanilla extract along with the kefir, buttermilk or sour milk.
- Lemon: finely grate the zest of a lemon in as you add the apple and blackberries.
- Cinnamon: add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon along with the flour.
International Scone Week & Afternoon Tea Week
International Scone Week was started way back when (in 2011) by Celia over at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. I know I keep saying it, but where does the time go? Tandy from Lavender and Lime later took up the mantle and has run with it ever since. Last year I joined in with these vegan wholemeal scones. You can see all of the scones that are made on Tandy’s sidebar.
This year, I’m a little late to the party. #ISW2021 ran from 9th to 15th August. So I’m sorry I didn’t alert you in enough time to join in, but there’s always next year.
It was also Afternoon Tea Week last week (9th to 16th August), so I should have been pretty well set up for that too – oops!. But if you haven’t made scones recently, go ahead and make some anyway.
Other Blackberry Recipes You Might Like
- Blackberry & apple crumble
- Blackberry overnight oats
- Chocolate blackberry jam
- Coconut blackberry & rose barfi
- Double blackberry chocolate galette
- Spelt pancakes with blackberries, apple & brown buttered cobnuts
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these blackberry and apple scones, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like more scone recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious and nutritious, of course.
Blackberry and Apple Scones. PIN IT.
Blackberry and Apple Scones – The Recipe
Blackberry and Apple Scones
- 8 oz (225g) wholemeal spelt flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp cream of tarter
- 1 pinch sea or rock salt
- 2 oz (60g) golden granulated sugar
- 2 oz (60g) salted butter – fridge cold and cubed
- 1 small apple – cored, but not peeled any type, but windfalls are ideal
- 100 g blackberries
- ⅛ pt (75 ml) kefir, buttermilk or sour milk
- a little milk to brush the tops with
- Set oven to 180℃ (160℃ fan, 350℉, Gas 4).
- Place the dry ingredients into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.8 oz (225g) wholemeal spelt flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tsp cream of tarter, 1 pinch sea or rock salt, 2 oz (60g) golden granulated sugar, 2 oz (60g) salted butter – fridge cold and cubed
- Finely chop the apple and stir into the flour along with the blackberries.1 small apple – cored, but not peeled, 100 g blackberries
- Make a well in the centre and pour in most, but not all of the kefir. Stir with a round bladed knife from the inside to the outside until the ingredients are just combined and form a dough. Use the remaining kefir if needed, but as you stir you'll release the juice from the blackberries and you don't want the mixture to become too wet.⅛ pt (75 ml) kefir, buttermilk or sour milk
- On a floured surface, pat the dough into a round with your hands or roll out on to about 1" (2 ½ cm) thick, then cut into rounds with a 2 ½" (6cm) cutter. Combine the leftover bits, re-roll and cut again until the dough has all been used.
- Place onto a greased baking tray and brush with milk. Bake for 20 minutes or until the scones are golden and the bases sound hollow when tapped.
- Place onto a cooling rack. Enjoy at least one whilst they are still warm.
I’m sharing this recipe for blackberry and apple scones with Melissa Traub for #CookBlogShare.