Monday, June 1, 2009

Southern Biscuits w/ Local Honey


My all time favorite biscuit recipe is not from my grandmother or my mom, but rather, from chemist and "BakeWise" author, Shirley O. Corriher.  This woman is brilliant, and her recipes and books are a universal standard in many professional kitchens.   If you have ever watched more then a few episodes of Alton Brown's "Good Eats", chances are you know who I am talking about.  

Somewhere in our collective minds we've bought into the notion that biscuits should have flaky layers AND be light and fluffy.  Maybe.  Personally, I just prefer the "light and fluffy" version. I find when most biscuits are rolled (even with fourteen layers of melted butter) they may have layers, but rarely do they achieve the "fluffy" texture I find satisfying.  HOT fluffy  biscuits are a personal preference and I cannot imagine any other biscuit recipe ever finding it's way into my oven. These are so amazing, they are even good cold.
( Just don't tell me you ate them cold.. this is a friendly blog, and we'll leave politics, religion and any talk of cold biscuits outside this forum. a cold biscuit?  It's too distressing to even think about!)  

I have made small modifications to Mrs. Corriher's recipe.  
*She prefers sweet biscuits.  I prefer to add sweetness with honey or jam and leave most it out of my biscuit dough.
*I also substituted butter for shortening.  
* She recommends using a southern low protein flour called, White Lily.  Unfortunately, we do not have access to it in our region, so I use regular self-rising flour. 
**I make my own buttermilk, however any commercial brand will work fine.

Note: To my southern it too strange to ask for White Lily flour for a birthday present??

Southern Biscuits
recipe adapted from "BakeWise", by Shirley O. Corriher

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Line a small square or round baking pan with parchment paper, or use nonstick spray. 
I prefer a buttered cast iron skillet.

2 cups self-rising flour
1-2 Tbl. Sugar (SC version, 1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup,  very cold, and cut into small pieces
2/3 cup cold heavy cream
1 1/4-1 1/2 cups buttermilk,

1 cup all purpose flour, for shaping
3 Tbl unsalted butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Next add very cold butter pieces and toss with the flour. Now use your fingers to quickly smash the butter and flatten each piece, (this should take no more then 2 minutes, as you want the butter to remain ice cold.  Do not use a pastry cutter with this recipe. The traditional instructions for,  'pea size' or 'resembles course meal', butter and flour techniques need to be laid to rest). Toss/stir the flattened butter a few times to evenly distribute.

Add heavy whipping cream and stir a few times, then add 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, adding more if needed. Stir to completely combine.  According to S. Corriher, "THE DOUGH SHOULD RESEMBLE COTTAGE CHEESE". It is suppose to be wet, but not soupy. Dough is ready to shape.

Spread 1 Cup all purpose flour onto a plate or pie pan.  Using a medium ice cream scoop, place 2 to 3 scoops of dough on top of the flour and sprinkle additional flour in top of each. Flour your hands and gently shape your dough into a round, shake off the extra flour and place it onto the prepare pan. Be sure to place the biscuits TIGHTLY together.  Continue until all the dough is used up. 

Bake biscuits until they are lightly brown, about 20-25 minutes. Brush each biscuit with melted butter and use a knife or spatula to cut between biscuits. Serve piping hot with local honey and of course, more butter. Enjoy HOT!

See you at the LF Market!
Chef Deb


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