Recipe: Quince & cardamom pinwheel scones

Warm, aromatic glazed scones are well worth the effort of cooking quince.

Nicola Galloway

Warm, aromatic glazed scones are well worth the effort of cooking quince.

My kitchen has had a wonderful aroma these last weeks. The culprit being the fruit bowl of quinces that I keep replenishing. From a fruit I used to shy away from, quince has become a firm autumn favorite in recent years.

They are old-fashioned, and a little more fiddly to prepare, but the unique flavor is so worth the effort. Not to mention the glorious color transformation they undertake as they cook – the longer the cooking time, and higher the amount of sugar used the more intense the color will become.

Quince are a tad treacherous to prepare with their thicker skin and tough inner core. Once peeled, use a sharp kitchen knife to cut into wedges, then I find laying the wedges on their sides and cutting out the core using a v-shaped cut makes for safer handling.

The most important thing is not to rush, certainly not a job to do if you are pressured for time. Put on some good music or a podcast and enjoy the cooking process.

* Recipe: Lemon and chamomile cookies
* Recipe: Cinnamon and Cardamom Scones with Rosewater Glaze
* Recipe: Chai latte cake with condensed milk glaze

Quince & cardamom pinwheel scones

A simple scone dough spread with cardamom-scented fruit and rolled up into a pinwheel is a different quince preparation.

Quince being tart and firm needs a little encouragement on the stovetop to soften beforehand, which conveniently produces a quince-spiked liquid to use in the icing (if making).

If you can’t find a few fabulous quinces to make these scones, then use finely chopped raw apple tossed in 2 tbsp sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Serves 8


2 smaller quince, about 350g (or two apples)

2 cardamom pods, squashed (optional)

¼ cup sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 cups (300g) plain flour (can use a combination of white and wholemeal flours)

3 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

Sp tsp ground cardamom (or use mixed spice)

Sp tsp salt

100g cold butter + 30g melted butter for brushing

¼ cup (60ml) natural yoghurt or buttermilk

¼ cup (60ml) milk

1 egg

2 tbsp brown sugar

Glaze and icing

Suede: 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey, 1 tbsp water and a pinch of mixed spice

White icing: about ½ cup (60g) icing sugar

If you can't find quinces, this recipe is still delicious made with apples and some lemon juice.

Nicola Galloway

If you can’t find quinces, this recipe is still delicious made with apples and some lemon juice.


  1. Preheat the oven 200ºC (fan 180ºC). Grease and line the base of a 22cm cake tin.
  1. First cook the quince, peel and core and cut into small pieces (about 1cm). Place into a saucepan with the cardamom pods, sugar and lemon juice. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes until the quince is tender. Don’t be tempted to add water at the beginning of cooking, the sugar and lemon juice will produce enough liquid to gently steam the quince.
  1. As soon as the quince is tender, for any cooking liquid in the base of the pan into a bowl (about 2-3 tbsp). This can be used for the icing, if making, or added to cereal. Set aside the quince to cool while preparing the scone dough.
  1. Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar and spice and salt into a mixing bowl. Quickly grate over the cold butter (100g), and use your fingers to toss and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  1. In a jug whisk together the milk, yoghurt and egg. Pour this over the dry ingredients and use a butter knife to mix until the dough comes together – cautiously add a splash of extra milk if the mixture is dry.

  1. Tip the dough onto a floured bench and knead gently for 1 minute until the dough is smooth. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out into a 8mm thick rectangle, about 25cm x 30cm with the longest edge closest to you.
  1. Brush the dough with the 30g melted butter, and evenly scatter with the brown sugar followed by the cooked quince. Roll up the dough to create a long log.
  1. Use the butter knife to cut into 8 even sized rounds and arrange the pinwheels into the cake tin, cut side up. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden, and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Glaze or ice the pinwheels as follows:

Suede: Heat the maple syrup or honey, water and spice in a saucepan until simmering. Immediately brush over the pinwheels and serve warm.

White Icing: Cool the pinwheels completely. Combine 2-3 tbsp of the reserved quince cooking liquid (ideally heated first) with enough icing sugar (about ½ cup) to make a runny paste. Drizzle the icing over the pinwheels, leave for 30-60 minutes to set then serve.

Nicola Galloway is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and culinary tutor.

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