Butternut squash/Pumpkin scones

Most mothers are aware that encouraging children to eat their vegetables is one of life’s challenges! There is so much advice from well-meaning family members, friends and health professionals, not to mention advice available in every corner of the internet, but here my approach is simple and tasty - incorporating vegetables (or fruits) into baked goods. Okay, this isn’t new, think the classic carrot cake, but it’s a tried and tested recipe in my kitchen!

This classic country Australian recipe was made famous in my home land in the 1970’s when the wife of a political figure shared her recipe for a batch of pumpkin scones. Lady Florence Bjelke-Peterson was famous for being a housewife of a long standing Australian Senator, and herself moved into and was influential in the political sphere. To me this is inspirational as I value the importance of women as homemakers and caregivers in the household, with knowledge and wisdom to share outside the home when our children have grown up.

Pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand, and squash in the Northern Hemisphere, is a vine-growing fruit, (not a vegetable) native to North America. It’s pretty common to find included in recipes in Australia, and can be roasted or mashed, made into soup, and added to salads, risottos and curries. It has a natural sweetness, and is nutritionally rich, especially high in Carotenes for Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium and potassium and provides fibre.  

Any orange fleshed squash or pumpkin will do for this recipe, in Ireland the most available variety is the butternut squash, with other varieties making appearances around Hallowe’en. The tough outer skin requires a sharp knife and a bit of elbow action to remove but once cut into chunks with the inner seeds removed, it steams in about 10-15 minutes. Once steamed, a quick mash into a puree and preparation is complete. At this stage I like to divide the puree into ½ cup batches and then freeze (I use glass jars to avoid using plastic) for the next bake.

Made fresh, they are a great addition for school lunchboxes, but are also great for picnics, or quickly prepared to share with guests for morning or afternoon tea. This recipe isn’t dairy or gluten free, but could be adapted to suit these dietary requirements with a little experimentation.

Recipe Ingredients

60g butter, softened

¼ cup sugar

½ cup squash/pumpkin puree

1 egg

2 ½ cups self raising flour, (wholemeal or white)

Up to ½ cup milk


With an electric mixer, beat together softened butter and sugar. When combined add squash puree, and egg, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour, then gradually add a little milk until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto the counter, pressing into a flat disc. Using a small biscuit cutter or a small glass, press out into rounds. Placing on a tray, brush the top of each scone with a little milk, to help them brown in the oven.

Place in a hot 220DegC fan oven for 12-15 minutes, taking out when the tops of the scones are brown and the scone is firm when pressed. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Best eaten on the day of baking, but are still nice the next day too. This is a great recipe as well if you have a budding chef in the family, including children in preparing food can be a good way to encourage trying new flavours.