I fell mad in love with Ireland and have had the good fortune to visit a couple of times. My first stop after the long flight was to a farm, where I had my first Irish scone with marmalade. The love affair with the country and its scones was set in that moment. Like biscuits or pie dough here in America, there seems to be a scone recipe for every household in Ireland. The one constant is the quality of the butter and dairy used to make them. This is such a simple recipe and the butter makes all the difference, so go with a good one. I used Kerrygold, because I met the farmers and cows while in Ireland and know its incredible. You can use any “European” style butter, because it has a higher fat content than most American brands. The other thing I associate with Irish scones is the shape, round. I like a tall scone, so I press the dough into a thick mass before cutting out the shape. The bigger the scone, the more surface there is to spread it with marmalade. Every table in Ireland served scones with a jar of marmalade, which pretty much satisfies all my needs. I LOVE marmalade! It is the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. It is bright in color and flavor and goes with scones or ice cream or just a spoon. I made this kumquat “marmalade” by just cooking down fresh kumquats with sugar, that’s it. No pectin to deal with just gentle cooking. Because I am not thickening the juices, this is a bit runnier than a traditional marmalade. Works brilliantly for me.
Watch me make the marmalade on my Instagram stories!
- 4 cups (520g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar plus more for the tops (this is optional, but I like the flavor and the color of the scones when used)
- 4 ounces (113g) unsalted "European" butter, cool, but not quite hard, so you can easily work it into the flour
- 2 cups buttermilk this is approximate and will depend on your flour and time of year
- egg wash for brushing top this is my addition, I like the color it gives
- 1 pound kumquats cut in half lengthwise
- Pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup optional, but keeps the marmalade from crystalizing
- Preheat oven to 400°F, place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl of dry ingredients. With your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles corn meal. The flour should be fully coated with the butter and it will turn creamy in color.
- Gently add enough of the buttermilk to create a moist dough that still holds its shape, you may not use all of the buttermilk. There should be a few dry patches at the bottom of the bowl as you are mixing in the buttermilk.
- Turn the scone dough out onto the work surface and fold the dough with a Bench Scraper, so you are pressing any dry flour into the dough and folding it as you go. This kneads the dough gently. Do this about 6 times.
- On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into an inch-thick rectangle. Use a 3-inch Biscuit or Round Cutters to press the scones into shape. Very gently press the scraps together and cut out more circles.
- Place the scones at least two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.
- Bake until they are golden brown and set, about 18-20 minutes.
- To make the kumquat marmalade: Put the kumquats into a pot and cover with water and add the salt. Bring to a simmer.
- Strain the kumquats. Add the kumquats, sugar, corn syrup (if using) and enough water just to cover the fruit. Simmer on medium low until the syrup is the consistency of honey.
- Pour into a jar and allow it to cool. The kumquat marmalade will thicken as it cools. It can be refrigerated for a week.
20 thoughts to “Irish Scones with Kumquat Marmalade”
Can’t wait to try the marmalade. Kumquats are just a magical little gem!
This is my first time to ever post a comment on a cooking website.
I just made these Irish Scones for my family and next door neighbors.
Oh my goodness!!! Rave reviews from all!
This is now the official scone recipe for the Valencia Family.
Thank you for all of your baking goodness!
You mentioned that the kumquat marmalade recipe is not a real caning and will not last for months. What would make it a caning recipe? All the jam recipes I know have fruit and sugar in it, is it the ratio?
Hello! It has to do with processing the jars after cooking. You can see proper canning in this recipe: https://zoebakes.com/2013/08/13/rhubarb-orange-jam-and-a-canning-giveaway-by-ball/
I’ve made some kumquat marmalade.
Excited to make this! Would you put the corn syrup in with the sugar and fruit and just enough water – that step? Or off the heat afterwards?
Hi Christa, yes, you add it with the sugar! I have updated the recipe to reflect this. Enjoy!
When do you add the corn syrup please, thank you. Can’t wait to try this really beautiful and appetizing delicacy.
Hi Steven — you add it with the sugar! I have updated the recipe to reflect this. Enjoy!
Thanks for the update on the kumquat recipe Stephani. The marmalade is delicious. Here is a picture of my first efforts using the great book and listening to your lectures on the Great Courses video series. The videos are terrific and a great accompaniment to the book. Thank you for your great teaching, the bread is fantastic and with your method we can have great bread easily at every dinner we choose to. /Users/stevennowicki/Desktop/IMG_0958.jpeg
I’ve made both the marmalade and scones twice now and love them, but my scones come out flaky looking, like southern biscuits. I notice that Zoe’s are pretty dense. Should I be rubbing the butter into smaller pieces or perhaps adding more buttermilk?
Hi Karen—you can definitely rub the butter in more if you’d like a more uniform scone. So glad to hear you’re loving this recipe!
This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! What is the white cream shown in the final picture?
Hi Karen! That is lightly whipped cream. You could also use clotted cream.
Made the scones last weekend and everyone loved them! Would like to try again and add fruit. If I do add blueberries or something similar, are there any tricks or tips I should know?
Hi Cathy, So glad everyone enjoyed the scones! If you add frozen fruit, be sure to keep the fruit frozen until just before you add it at the last second. If you add fresh berries you’ll need to be very careful when kneading as the berries will crush easily. You could try apples as they don’t crush as easily. Happy baking!
Can I freeze half the batch to bake later?
Hi Layla! You could certainly try it, though Zoe has not tested it with this recipe. Over the course of time the leavener will lose its power, so Zoe recommends not freezing them for too long. She suggests thawing before baking so they’ll rise better. If you go straight from frozen they will have to work harder and likely won’t get the same height. Happy baking!
What is the difference in a scone and a southern biscuit?
Hi Jac! This is such an interesting question, because there are so many scone recipes and so many biscuit recipes, sometimes they utterly overlap. Biscuits in general have more butter and tend to be flakier. Scones tend to be a bit denser, but certainly not always.