Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Southern Biscuits: Review and Recipe

I don't know if it's because I grew up in the South or not but one of my very favorite foods is biscuits. I have to make them a couple times a month but for the last few years, I've only used one recipe, over and over. Which is delicious but sometimes it's good to switch things up.

I recently received a copy of Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. I don't know if it's because I grew up in Tennessee or what but as soon as I saw the title of this cookbook and the cover, I was hooked.

When it arrived in the mail, I immediately sat down and read the entire cookbook. From cover to cover. And then went back and browsed it again a few hours later. It's filled with interesting information about biscuits and why certain ingredients in them act the way they do - some of which completely surprised me. I'd never heard of yogurt in biscuits. Or thought to use goat butter.

There's also step-by-step photos of how to form biscuits for any biscuit virgins out there. And y'all, there's every single kind of biscuit recipe you could imagine and then a few dozen more - from Julia Regner's Sturdy Dorm Biscuits to Overnight Bananas Foster Biscuit Casserole to Coca-Cola Biscuits.

I've made a few of the recipes so far and I have to say, they've all been amazing. These ladies know their biscuits.

If you're still on the hunt for a mothers day gift or just want to surprise the baker/cook in your life with a little somethin' somethin', you should check this book out. It's available on Amazon (and I'm sure many other places) for less than $15! Check it out.

One of the recipes I made from the cookbook is the Buttermilk Raisin Cinnamon Pecan Biscuits. I honestly had the gosh darn hardest time restraining myself from eating the entire batch. If you're hosting a Mother's Day brunch this weekend, you should plan on making these in lieu of the standard boring old coffee cake. Or print off the recipe below and sneak it into your husband's pocket so he'll find it and (hopefully) want to make them this Sunday. :)

Buttermilk Raisin Cinnamon Pecan Biscuits
Adapted from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart
Makes 20 (2") Biscuits

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (there's a recipe for a homemade version in the book!)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chilled butter, roughly cut into 1/4" pieces
1/4 cup chilled butter, roughly cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup golden or regular raisins
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk

Preheat oven to 450.

For a soft exterior, use a 8-9" cake pan and place biscuits close together. For a crisp exterior, use a baking sheet and space biscuits apart.

Whisk 2 1/4 cups flour and cinnamon into a large bowl, setting aside remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Scatter the 1/4" pieces of butter across the top and work in by rubbing fingers with the butter and flour as if snapping thumb and fingers together (or use a fork or pastry blender), until the mixture resembles feta cheese. Scatter remaining 1/2" pieces of butter over the top and work them in the same way as before until no piece remains larger than pea-sized.

Mix in the raisins and pecans.

Make a deep hollow in the center of the flour with the back of your hand. Pour 1 1/4 cups buttermilk into the hollow, reserving 1/4 cup buttermilk for later. Stir, quickly pulling the flour into the liquid using broad circular strokes. Mix until just moistened. If any flour remains on the sides or bottom of the bowl, stir in 1-4 tablespoons of the reserved buttermilk. If the dough is too wet, use more flour when shaping (below).

Sprinkle your counter with the reserved flour and pat the dough out into 1/2" thickness. Dip a 2" biscuit cutter in flour and use it to cut out the biscuits.

Place biscuits on the selected baking pan and bake at 450 for 12-14 minutes or until the biscuits are a light golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the icing by whisking together the confectioner's sugar and (butter)milk. Pour over the biscuits when they are finished baking but still hot.  

*While I did receive a copy of Southern Biscuits for my review, the opinions and thoughts I expressed are entirely my own...albeit possibly slightly influenced by the copious amounts of biscuits I've eaten recently.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a good book, I think Ill check it out at the library! Thanks for posting.


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