The Accidental Ingredient: Darjeeling and Pink Peppercorn Scones

Darjeeling and pink peppercorn scone, served with strawberry jam and clotted creamI’m not particularly fond of supermarkets, which I imagine is something that I have in common with a lot of people. And in my desire to spend as little time in them as possible, I prepare for any visit in advance by writing a list of everything that I need to buy. I plan a mental map of the most efficient route around the store, and work out exactly how long it should take for me to get everything I need. Then – and this is the fun part – I subtract a random number of minutes from that time. All that’s left for me to do is rush around the store like a maniac, collecting required items like they’re trophies, whilst trying to ‘beat’ whatever time it is that I’ve dreamt up being as a reasonable target to aim for…

But joking aside, it remains that I really don’t like to spend much time in supermarkets, and playing my very own version of “Supermarket Sweep” – however sedately – does have its disadvantages. It’s an obvious mistake, but I’m usually in such a rush that (despite my carefully drafted list) I simply forget something that really would have been useful. So, I was particularly pleased last week, when I managed not only to spend a respectably short amount of time in the store, but also successfully completed my mission by getting everything that I needed. Brilliant! Sadly, however, my euphoria was short-lived, and as I unpacked my shopping was perplexed to find that instead of buying black peppercorns, I had actually managed to bring pink ones instead. It’s not exactly a big problem, but I found it irritating nonetheless.

Pink peppercornsI’ve never purchased pink peppercorns before, and although they’re certainly delightful to look at, a quick search informed me that they’re no substitute for the black ones. Although both are spicy and highly flavoured, pink varieties (which aren’t actually peppercorns at all), are more aromatic, with a citrus piquancy that means that they go well with fruit as well as desserts, rather than with savoury dishes.

Ground pink peppercorns and Darjeeling teaAlthough this was initially rather annoying, what it did mean was that I had the perfect excuse to look for a new recipe – one that made good use of my accidental ingredient. And eventually I came across this one, published in The Guardian. It’s a recipe for one of the scones available at The Modern Pantry, a café and restaurant which looks as though it would offer an incredible afternoon tea, and which is now firmly on my “to do” list next time I’m in London.

I was pleased with how these turned out, and they really do provide an interesting twist to a traditional British scone. The smell of the pink peppercorns was just fabulous, although a little disconcerting at times as I couldn’t help but wonder if they were going to overpower everything else. I worried about this twice – once as I was grinding them, and again as the scones were cooking – but I really needn’t have been concerned. Although they do provide some heat, there is also a surprising sweetness to them, and they go remarkably well with the Darjeeling. Which is just another thing that makes them perfect as an afternoon treat.

Serve with clotted cream and jam, along with a nice cup of tea…

Darjeeling and pink peppercorn scone

Recipe: Darjeeling and Pink Peppercorn Scones


225g self-raising flour
65g whole meal flour
40g porridge oats
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp Darjeeling tea, ground
it turns out that this was the amount in two tea bags
1 tbsp pink peppercorns, ground, plus a little extra for sprinkling
⅓ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
50g butter
250ml buttermilk
1 tbsp milk, for brushing
2 tbsp demerara sugar
This should make about 10 scones


Pre-heat the oven to 200c / 400f / gas mark 6.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingers to form a crumb-like texture. Gradually add the buttermilk until the milk forms into a dough.

Roll out to 2cm think, then cut into 6cm diameter rounds. Put on to a baking tray lined with baking paper, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar and a few peppercorns.

Bake for 15 minutes or so, until light golden.

Cool on a wire rack, then serve with jam and clotted cream.



About Georgina

Originally from the South of England, I've also had homes in Australia (Canberra) and the US (Los Angeles). I've been based in the UK city of Sheffield for a couple of years now. My blog is about adventures with food - markets, ingredients, books, recipes, places I've eaten and other related experiences. It focuses on stories from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and nearby Derbyshire, as well as places farther afield.
This entry was posted in Food, Recipes, Sweet things and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to The Accidental Ingredient: Darjeeling and Pink Peppercorn Scones

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    I shop like you do and, for that reason, you and I should never walk into a grocery together. Odds are that we’d collide sooner or later, the only real question being where. I enjoy pepper in some baked goods. It’s the little bite that I like. I bet I’d like these scones, too.

    • Georgina says:

      It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who shops like this. And yes, collision is a real danger on any supermarket visit. Perhaps the next time I should stop and ask if they’re playing a similar game…

  2. Susan says:

    I love your supermarket sweep game, and given my own OCD tendencies and dislike of supermarkets, I see myself incorporating it into my own shopping trips.

    I like pink peppercorns, particularly with poultry, and I also really like green peppercorns. (I actually have a bit of a peppercorn fetish; I think I have about six varieties at home.) I love the sound of these scones; they sound marvelous, perhaps with some quince jam. 🙂

    • Georgina says:

      Thanks Susan. I’m looking forward to hearing how you get on with my supermarket challenge!
      And I like the idea of a peppercorn fetish. I think I can understand that. Six varieties though; that’s pretty impressive.

  3. Love the idea of the pink peppercorn here and the combination with the ground Darjeeling makes it even more interesting. Looks great!

  4. Oh, how I love to lick the screen clean when reading your blog! 🙂

    • Georgina says:

      Ha!Ha! That’s a lovely comment – and of course baking any scone is really just an excuse to eat clotted cream and jam, which always makes it worth licking the plate!

  5. Liz says:

    what a fantastic recipe–I can see why the plate is empty!

  6. Lilly Sue says:

    I love this game you play! Ha ha, that is totally something I could see myself doing but I guess I have never thought about it. What a fun accidental ingredient- I have never used pink peppercorn but this recipe sounds fun!

    • Georgina says:

      Thanks Lilly! It’s always a good idea to get in and out of a supermarket as quickly as possible. Give it a go! And yes, I’m glad – in the end – that I bought my accidental peppercorns.

  7. I am the same way!! I always thought I was alone in this!! I try and run in and run out as quickly as possible! Anyway, all grocery store griping aside, this is an awesome recipe!! Thank you for sharing!

    • Georgina says:

      I never knew that this was such a popular game! It’ll make my next supermarket visit much more fun, to try and work out who else might be playing! I’m really glad that you like the recipe.

  8. dinnerbysusan says:

    We’re going to London this summer! The Modern Pantry is now on our to-do list!

  9. polianthus says:

    scones sound delightful, love the story of how you came to have pink peppercorns, I am sure you are not the only one who rushes round stores on auto-pilot throwing things into the basket on her rush to get back out the door, in US supermarkets, the huge huge type, I understand the speed, as the amount of aisles and the sheer volume of produce always made me feel a bit like the supermarket was swallowing me and unless I made it in and out unperceived by the store I wouldn’t ever get out again. In supermarkets round the world though I love to linger and discover new ingredients.thanks also for the modern pantry recommendation, must put that on my list as well!

    • Georgina says:

      It’s lovely to hear from you, and thanks for your comment. I absolutely agree with you on both counts: supermarkets are definitely scary things; and almost always (more) interesting in another country. Traditional markets – in any place – are definitely more agreeable though!

  10. Intruiging recipe. Love pink peppercorns – in a red pepper sauce for trout or on top of goats cheese on a pizza.

  11. SP @ Third Culture Cooking says:

    You inspired me! I made these and they were lovely. I hadn’t tried pink peppercorns before (was drawn to is as I love putting savoury things in desserts), they were both surprising and delightful 🙂

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