zoom Fennel, chilli and gruyère scones

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    Fennel, chilli and gruyère scones

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    Fennel, chilli and gruyère scones

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes plus cooling
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes plus cooling

    Makes: about 10


    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and tough outer leaves removed
    2 tbsp caster sugar
    ½ tsp red chilli flakes
    2 tsp fennel seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
    2 red chillies, diced
    350g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
    1 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp salt
    50g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
    50g full-fat soft cheese, frozen
    150g gruyère, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
    3 salad onions, sliced
    150ml whole milk 
    2 large eggs


    1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C, gas mark 5; line a baking tray with parchment. Put the oil in a pan over a medium-high heat. Dice the fennel into 1cm-sized pieces, add to the pan with 1 tbsp sugar and cook until starting to turn golden – about 10-12 minutes. Turn down the heat, add the chilli flakes, fennel seeds and diced chilli; cook for a few minutes until the fennel is tender. Take off the heat; cool.

    2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 tbsp sugar. Add the butter and frozen soft cheese to the flour mixture and use a butter knife to cut the fat into the flour; then rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the gruyère and salad onions; toss together to combine.

    3. In a large jug, combine the fennel mixture with the milk and 1 egg. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture. Use the knife to just bring together to a dough, then tip out onto a well-floured surface and use your hands to bring together into a uniform dough. Press into a round about 2.5cm thick and, using a 7cm round cookie cutter, cut out as many scones as possible, placing them on the prepared baking tray. Gently knead the scraps back together and cut out more scones.

    4. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush over the tops of the scones. Sprinkle with some extra cheese and fennel seeds, then bake for about 25 minutes or until golden on top. Allow the scones to cool for 10 minutes before serving. They are best served warm but are also great at room temperature; they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose Food, March 2018 issue. Download the Waitrose Food app for the full issue


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