Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pies & Thighs Biscuits

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and since I can't find the photo of the Sweet Potato Pound Cake I was going to post, I made biscuits instead.

This is now my favorite biscuit. Not just because of the name Pies 'n' Thighs, for the restaurant from whence they came, but I do enjoy saying the name, over and over, a biscuit making mantra. For a northern gal, I have made and eaten hundreds of biscuits. I have have rolled and patted, because even if tonight's dinner is just a salad, a good biscuit completes the meal.

This is a soft and flaky biscuit, yet almost meaty in its satisfying bite. Perfect with fried chicken (thighs!) or with smoked ham leftover turkey in a sandwich, but delicious fresh with good honey for breakfast.

These seem like a lot of work, but not really. I usually start the dough after dinner the night before serving them. In the morning, I mix in the buttermilk, pat/roll them out, and put the biscuit rounds in the freezer while the oven preheats. I bake one sheet for breakfast, and leave the other pan, well-wrapped, in the freezer for another day.

Baker's Notes: These are meant to be eaten with savory foods, they are saltier than regular biscuits. I found them a bit too salty, so I cut back the kosher salt to 1 tablespoon. Pastry flour is hard to find, I've had good results making my own, using half cake flour, half all-purpose flour.

Pies & Thighs Biscuits
adapted from, recipe by Sarah Buck

  •     2 ¼    cup    pastry flour -- (use equal parts cake and all-purpose flours)
  •     2 ½    teaspoons    sugar
  •     2    tablespoons    plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •     1    scant tablespoon    kosher salt
  •     1 ½    cups  plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter -- chilled and cut into  pieces
  •     6    cups    all-purpose flour -- plus more for work surface
  •     3 ¼    cups    buttermilk
  •     1    large    egg -- beaten
  •     2    tablespoons    heavy cream (milk will work)

Place pastry flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until well combined; add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in  all-purpose flour. Chill this mixture for at least an hour. (Try doing this the night before, seal well and store in the refrigerator.)

Preheat oven to 425°F degrees. Get at least two baking sheets ready and set aside. If you plan to bake two sheets at a time, set your oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. If you want to bake one at a time, use the center rack.

Add buttermilk to chilled flour mixture and mix until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and bring together using the heel of your hand. Pat dough out to 1½ inch thick and cut into 16 biscuits using a 3-by-2-inch round biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary; transfer to baking sheet, leaving at least an inch between each biscuit. Put the filled baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes, this isn't absolutely necessary, but it keeps the biscuits from spreading, particularly if your kitchen is warm.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and cream; brush biscuits and transfer to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees and continue baking until golden brown, about 20-22 minutes more. If your dough sat in the feezer overnight, add 3-4 minutes baking time.

Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before serving, they need that 5 minutes to finish baking in the middle.

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