Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones
Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones

Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones

Recipe by Jordan Smith

King Arthur 2020 Recipe of the Year

Scones spread with jam are good. But scones that get layered with jam before they're baked so every bite has moments of sweetness are great. These tender cornmeal scones, the brainchild of baker Jordan Smith, take a bit more preparation than your typical mix-and-shape recipe, but their beauty and dynamic flavor make the process worthwhile. Plus, you can keep them in the freezer and pop them straight in the oven for a freshly baked treat fit for company at any time.

The Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scone was one of our Bake of the Week recipes for November 2022.

Prep
30 mins
Bake
20 to 25 mins
Total
14 hrs
Yield
8 large scones
Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones - select to zoom
Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones - select to zoom
Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones - select to zoom
Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones from top - select to zoom

Instructions

  1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 

  2. Into the bowl, add the cubes of chilled butter and toss to coat them with flour. Use your fingers to pinch each cube flat. Once you’ve made it through all the cubes, begin smearing the flattened pieces into the flour with your fingertips until they begin to break apart and integrate into the flour. Continue this process until the mixture resembles wet sand with the occasional peanut-size piece of butter. 

  3. Add the rosemary to the bowl and toss to incorporate. (Choose how much rosemary you use depending on how much you love the flavor!)

  4. In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs. Add the heavy cream and whisk until thoroughly combined.  

  5. Pour the heavy cream/egg mixture into the flour/butter mixture. Use your hands or a silicone spatula to gently mix until only a little bit of dry flour remains at the bottom of the bowl. Dump the contents of the bowl onto a piece of parchment.  

  6. Pat the mixture into a rough rectangle about 1" tall, gathering stray crumbles from the edges and adding them to the center. Use your hands or a bench knife to make neat, compact sides.  

  7. Use the bench knife or a sharp knife to divide the dough in half and stack one piece on top of the other. Pat down this stack until the dough is back to a rough 1" tall rectangle. Do this one more time, cutting the dough in half and stacking it on top of the other piece, focusing on squaring up the edges as you go. Flour your parchment if the dough starts to stick at any point. 

  8. Press down on the stacked layers of dough one more time until it is a 12" x 8" rectangle, about 1/2" thick. Fold the parchment over the dough to tightly wrap, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour and as long as overnight. (If the dough is refrigerated for longer than an hour, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes to warm up before moving onto the next step.) 

  9. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into four equal rectangles measuring 3" x 8". On a well-floured surface, roll out each rectangle until the final dimensions are 6" x 12" and about 1/4" thick. Stack the rectangles on a baking sheet and return to the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to firm up. 

  10. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and starting with one piece, dollop 3 tablespoons fig jam over the entire surface of the rectangle (a scant muffin scoop works well here). Spread the jam evenly over the dough from edge to edge. You will have a very thin layer; only add more jam if necessary — less is more in this case. 

  11. Carefully stack and press a second rectangle of dough onto the first layer. Spread another 3 tablespoons of jam evenly over the top, then stack it onto the first piece. Repeat this layering process until all four pieces of dough are stacked with jam between each layer. (There will be three layers of jam.) Be careful not to press down on the layers of dough while stacking them to avoid pushing the jam out between the layers.   

  12. With a sharp knife, cut the stacked dough in half the long way, and then cut each strip into four even pieces for a total of eight 3" x 3" scones.  

  13. Arrange the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet with 2" to 3" of space between them. Cover with plastic and place into the freezer for at least two hours or, preferably, overnight. 

  14. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper third. 

  15. Remove the scones from the freezer and brush the tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with sparkling sugar. 

  16. Bake the scones for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the scones are firm to the touch and lightly golden. If any of the layers of dough have shifted during baking, you can use a lightly oiled spatula or butter knife to push them back into place. Let the scones cool on the baking sheet, during which time the layers will set. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.  

  17. Storage information: Scones can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for several days. To reheat, place scones in a 300°F oven for 6 to 10 minutes. Unbaked scones can be stored, well-wrapped, in the freezer for several months. Bake directly from frozen. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • For this recipe, you’ll want to use a very thick jam or preserve. Better yet, seek out fig or fruit “butter,” which has a higher concentration of fruit compared to water or sugar. Not only does this intensify the flavor of fruit in the scones, but it also helps the scones to bake more evenly and as tall as possible. We like the fig spreads from the brands Divina and Dalmatia: they have a classic fig as well as an orange-fig spread that’s delicious. (Heads up: At King Arthur, we only recommend the ingredients that we, as bakers, truly love. When you buy through external links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) 

  • To test your jam to see if it will work in this recipe, scoop a bit from the jar onto a spoon, then tilt the spoon downwards. If the jam slides off the spoon, it’s not thick enough. To thicken jam to be better suited for this recipe, you can gently simmer it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes while continuously stirring to release steam and avoid scorching. Allow the jam to cool to room temperature, then perform the downward spoon test again.