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Cherry & Coconut Gem Scones

I have two recipes on TIFFIN that are by far and away my most popular posts. They vie for top billing, depending on the time of year. They are Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs and Gem Scones. Ribs are most popular in winter and gem scones the rest of the year round. As they are so popular, surely it’s time to create some new versions of these recipes. Ribs will have to wait until winter (she says as she sits at the keyboard at 8.30am and it’s already 28c) but here’s a new recipe for Boozy Cherry & Coconut Gem Scones.

A plate of Cherry & Coconut Gem Scones

Last year I made a variation on the original gem scone recipe. Cherry & Coconut. When I say ‘last year’, it was Mother’s Day, so quite a while ago. They were perfect but with family members hovering like seagulls, I didn’t get a chance to photograph them. So last weekend I recreated and tweaked the recipe. Since I published the first recipe, I have learned a couple of things along the way and, I now have two sets of gem irons which has makes cooking a lot easier

Boozy Cherries

Fresh cherries are one of life’s pleasures over summer. This year they have been very late coming through the shops and markets due to a delayed start where they grow, further south. You can buy them but prices have been ridiculously expensive. Thankfully, in past years when prices have been lower, I laid in a store of whole cherries steeped in brandy and sugar. I will write a separate post about making the cherries, my inspiration and uses but suffice to say, I have some very boozy cherries on hand (some jars are over 10 years old).  I have suggested an alternative for those who don’t just happen to have boozy cherries knocking around. Of course, you can just make coconut gem scones without any fruit if you prefer.

The Gem Scones post just keeps giving and giving when it comes to conversations with readers. They leave comments about their own memories of gem scones, questions about the gem irons and ideas for other ingredients. There are lots of comments from NZ where apparently gem scones and gem irons are a totally different thing. It’s great to see that people can use the post and comments as a resource. I hope you will enjoy this recipe just as much.

Boozy Cherry & Coconut Gem Scones

basket of Coconut & Cherry Gem Scones

Bowls of washed red cherries

  • 60g butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 10 – 15 fresh cherries (depending on size of cherries)
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 tbsp extra sugar for marinating
  • canola spray for greasing


  1. Stone and stem cherries, cut into quarters and place in a bowl with brandy and extra sugar. Stir and st aside for a minimum of 2 hours but overnight if possible.
  2. When you are ready to make the gem scones, pre-heat oven to 220C. Place gem irons into oven.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and combined.
  4. Beat in egg yolks & coconut milk.
  5. Fold flour and shredded coconut into the batter.
  6. Beat egg whites to form a firm to stiff peak. Gently fold beaten egg whites into the mixture
  7. Carefully remove hot gem irons from oven. Spray gem irons with canola or other cooking spray and while they are still hot, put enough mixture in the irons to fill them 2/3 full (this is approximately 1 teaspoon or slightly more).
  8. Drain cherries (reserve the brandy for a cocktail) and working quickly but carefully, place a piece of cherry into each gem scone and top with a small amount of batter to fill each iron.Cherry & Coconut Gem Scones in gem irons
  9. Bake in a moderately hot oven 190C for 10-15 minutes or until cooked and lightly browned.
  10. Tip scones from irons onto cooling rack and return irons to oven to re-heat (remember to increase the oven heat).  Repeat until all batter is used.

Makes approx 30


  • Morello cherries from the jar are also nice. Just drain well before using.
  • Pieces of prune soaked in port or apple juice can also be used.
  • If you don’t have coconut milk, plain full cream milk is fine.
Cherry & Coconut Gem Scones split open to reveal cherries inside

I have another recipe for original gem scones on this blog – click on the gem scone picture below.

6 comments… add one
  • Pamela hayward May 5, 2017, 6:16 pm

    Of course very excited to see your new recipe. Coconut would be nice to… yum great idea. I read about a recipe with prunes too…and I made some for last Christmas. Prunes in port! Yum. I see you mentioned this.
    I do recommend your readers look out for these pans at vintage stores (though have seen some for 20 plus dollars. But having two pans is better.
    Thank you ☺

    • Fiona Ryan May 5, 2017, 10:00 pm

      Yes, Tiffin readers need to look hard and get them when they can. They are fairly rare these days (no longer in op shops, that’s for sure). Yours looked wonderful on Instagram. Together we can conquer the world with our gem scones!

  • Maureen | OrgasmicChef May 5, 2017, 6:42 pm

    I have never seen a gem iron but I do have some boozy cherries. What would happen if I used a normal muffin tin?

    • Fiona Ryan May 5, 2017, 10:05 pm

      Gem scone irons are pretty small and very heavy (cast iron). As soon as you drop the batter in, they start to sizzle. I’m sure small muffin tins would be fine Maureen but you may need to cook them for longer.

  • Liz Posmyk (Good Things) May 22, 2017, 2:15 am

    Gem irons, what a wonderful blast from the past. We used to sell them when I had the cookware store. Lovely recipe. x

    • Fiona Ryan May 22, 2017, 6:49 pm

      Gem irons are hard to come by these days as they have fallen out of the ‘old fashioned’ category and into ‘vintage’.

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