February 26, 2008

Forgive, Forget and Stuff Your Face

There are two things I love about Dorie Greenspan's recipes. First, the ingredients she uses are common items I usually already have in my pantry or fridge. Second, her instructions are clear, easy to follow and very forgiving. That last point is the most important in my case.

Another week has passed—eek! where does the time go?—and it's time for another Tuesday with Dorie. This week, Ashley of eat me, delicious chose the menu and she went for Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits. As expected, they were easy-peasy and took little time to get in the oven.

Now, on to the forgiving part. In Baking: From My Home to Yours, Dorie has written a whole section that talks about how to produce tall, flaky biscuits that are just-so. It's filled with tips and techniques on handling your dough to get the desired results. I have a love-hate relationship with all things that require dough, so my rolling pin rarely sees sunlight. I read (and reread and read again) that section before starting so my dough would yield the coveted tall, flaky biscuits. I had this handled ... or so I thought. Alas, my biscuits were neither tall nor flaky. They were kind of dense and a little scone-like. I didn't mind, though. They were still super delicious and I would definitely make these again. My resident tasters gave them the big thumbs-up as well. The recipe was forgiving, indeed.

Dorie suggests serving these with cold butter. That sounded tasty, but I decided to serve mine with some Earth & Vine Red Bell Pepper & Ancho Chili Jam I had in my fridge. If you've never tried this jam, I suggest you get your hands on some as soon as you can. It is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, adding yumminess to just about anything.

Head on over to Tuesdays with Dorie to see how all the other bakers fared this week.

Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
(Makes about 12 biscuits)

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/2 cup cold sour cream
1/4 cold whole milk
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, preferably toasted

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a bow. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between—and that's just right.

Stir the sour cream and milk together and pour over the dry ingredients. Grab a fork and gently toss and turn the ingredients together until you've got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gentle kneading—3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together. Toss in the pecans and knead 2 to 3 times to incorporate them.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour, pat the dough out with your hands or toll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don't worry if the dough isn't completely even—a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.

Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of the first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working with them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits ca be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting—just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake the biscuits for 14-18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.


Marie said...

Your biscuits look pretty good to me! Well done you!! I never roll out my biscuits. I just lightly pat them out and I probably don't pat mine out as thin as most people do. I like my biscuits really tall and fluffy. Probably the glutton in me! We had ours with apricot jam and lashings of clotted cream. They were so good. I can't wait to make them again!

Madam Chow said...

I'm going to have to try that jam, especially with the biscuits (mine were like scones) the next time I make them.

Judy said...

The jam looks delicious. I think I have some chili jam in my pantry, so I will give it a try with these biscuits the next time I bake them.

Anonymous said...

Even if the biscuits didn't come out how you'd hoped, they look absolutely fantastic! And if they taste good, well, that's all that really matters, right? ;-)

Engineer Baker said...

That jam sounds to-die-for! And your biscuits look awesome!

Jaime said...

they look pretty tall and flaky to me! but i can say from your last pic that you rolled them out a lot thinner than I did mine - those look almost like 1/4" instead of 1/2" - i just patted mine down to a rough size instead of using the rolling pin. try that the next time you make these :)

Beth G. said...

I am adoring this book too and loved this recipe~ yours look delicious, I want some of that jam! Great job :)

eatme_delicious said...

What are you talking about, your biscuits look like they rose beautifully!

Rachel said...

Yours look great! My camera card had no pics on it (boo) but your's looked better than mine, for sure. Kudos on the awesome jam idea. I'm checking that out!

Madam Chow said...

I just read your suggestions that you posted on my blog - the one about hardened brown sugar and how to salvage it. Thank you so much! Those are great tips, and I will use them!

Miss Michelle said...

That jam sounds super good. I'm going to have to get me some. My husband isn't too much a fan of anything but strawberry jam but this sounds too good to not try.

Great job on the biscuits. :-)

Anonymous said...

your biscuits turned out beautifully and at least twice as high as mine! i LOVE the idea of the pepper jam - i have some in my fridge and the thought never crossed my mind! thanks! :)

Erin said...

These look great! I bet they taste wonderful with that jam.