top of page

Deborah Kerr's Coconut Scones

This episode is in celebration of Deborah Kerr's 100th birthday!

Deborah Kerr was born in Scotland and began her career as a ballet dancer and actress on the stage in England. She transitioned to films in the early 1940s and starred in "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" and "Black Narcissus" for the filmmaking team Powell and Pressburger. In 1947 Kerr made the leap to Hollywood and went on to star in numerous classics including "From Here to Eternity", "The King and I" and "An Affair to Remember". By 1961 she had racked up six Best Actress Academy Award nominations but didn't take home the prize until she was given an Honorary Oscar in 1994. Recently the Criterion Channel and Turner Classic Movies have planned tributes to honor her centennial.

The Recipe

This recipe is from the book "Great Performances in the Kitchen: Recipes and Foodstyles of the Stars" by Johna Blinn and was published in 1988.


1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, well beaten

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded coconut (sieved)

dash lemon juice (or lemon extract)


Cream butter. Add sugar and cream mixture. Add egg, flour and coconut to form dough. Add lemon juice to taste. Drop by spoonfuls on a well-greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with fork. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until cookies begin to brown.

Adjustments were needed! When I made the first test batch, these were very flat and had no rise. We added 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. I also found the combination of lemon and coconut to be really ill suited. My friend and guru Mary Stanford suggested adding a dash of lime instead and that made a huge different and was much better! I also used a triangular scone pan for the first batch and it didn't work well. Mary reminded me that these are what is called "drop scones" and are more like circular cookies so I used a cookie sheet for the second attempt. She also suggested using unsweetened coconut so these aren't over the top sugary. I skipped the icing part as well.

I tried to cook this for 8 minutes as the recipe suggests and it didn't work at all. These need at least 10-15 minutes to properly cook. Make sure to check on them so they don't burn. Remove from oven and allow time to cool.

Special Guests

Isabella Sanders Miller

Isabella Miller is the Program Director at The Berkeley FILM Foundation, an arts nonprofit that distributes grants to independent filmmakers. She has been a lover of classic films since the age of 12 and frequents film festivals honoring both classic and contemporary films. Isabella is also on the Preservation Committee of the Art Deco Society of California and is a member of Decobelles dance troupe.

The Final Result

After making the adjustments I mentioned, the scones turned out well. They are crispy, light and are perfect for an afternoon sack along with coffee or tea. I think Deborah Kerr would approve!

Thank you to my friend Ruth Mundsack for gifting me with these beautiful pink Depression glass saucers!

Thank you again to Kendall Miller for letting me borrow her Deborah Kerr costume for this episode as well.

There are so many Deborah Kerr movies available on DVD, Blu Ray, Turner Classic Movies and Criterion Channel.


bottom of page