A scone pan is a piece of bakeware which is designed for use in making scones and other wedge shaped baked goods such as cornbread and polenta. Using a scone pan ensures that scones are uniformly sized, and keeps the bottoms and sides of the scones tender while the tops turn golden brown. Since it can also double as a cornbread pan, a scone pan is a reasonably useful thing to have around the kitchen. Many kitchen supply stores sell scone pans, and they can also be ordered through online retailers.
A classic scone is triangular because scone dough is usually rolled out into a circle and then cut into eighths. The rich, flaky pastries are very popular with British and Scottish teas, especially sliced in half and dressed with clotted cream, marmalade, or other preserves. Traditionally, scones have been prepared either on a griddle or in the oven, with many cooks preferring oven-prepared scones. Without a scone pan, the scones tend to become browned along the sides, and they may develop golden bottoms as well.
A good scone pan is built from a solid material like enamel or cast iron, and has a series of triangular molds for dough or batter. The solid metal distributes heat evenly throughout the scones, but also prevents them from turning too brown or burning, since the metal heats up slowly. After the scones are done baking, they can be tipped out of the scone pan and onto a rack to cool, or they can be served warm and steaming, typically in a cloth lined basket. Cheaper scone pans use tin or thinner metals, and they may cause the scones to burn, especially if a baker is inattentive.
To make basic scones, sift together two cups of flour, one quarter cup sugar, four teaspoons baking powder, one half teaspoon salt, and one quarter teaspoon baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together one egg, one cup of buttermilk, 4 tablespoons of melted butter, and up to one half cup of dried fruit or nuts. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Use a large spoon to drop mounds of dough into an oiled scone pan.
Let the dough settle out a bit, pushing it to fill the molds in the scone pan if necessary. Brush the tops of the scones with a milk and egg mixture, and sprinkle with sugar, which will create a sweet crackling crust. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops have turned golden brown. The buttermilk gives these scones a tangy, complex texture which can be greatly enhanced by grating lemon or orange zest into the wet ingredients before mixing.