Growing up in the south, biscuits were expected to be at every family gathering. Whether we were eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner - biscuits were there. I always thought my mom made the best biscuits until I met Joey. And hands down, his grandmother makes the best (sorry, Mom!). They are light, fluffy, and buttery. I've always been too intimidated to try a proper biscuit. I've made drop biscuits and cheddar biscuits, but never an honest to goodness, fluffy, flaky, buttermilk biscuit. However on New Year's morning, I wanted nothing more than a big, fluffy biscuit. The weather was yucky, and fast food biscuits are too greasy, so I decided to go for it and finally try my hand at them. Plus, how can I call myself a proper southern lady if I've never made fluffy buttermilk biscuits?
Enter the Lee Brothers. Anytime I am searching for a classic southern recipe, I turn to them first. They have yet to disappoint me, these biscuits included. I knew the important things about biscuit-making: keep your butter cold and use a light hand with handling the dough. I know lard is considered to be a must of southern cooking, but I just can't bring myself to use it. So I just used all butter, and maybe my layers weren't quite as flaky, I will take the trade-off. I also brushed the tops with a little melted butter - because I just felt like it would be a good addition.
Joey has been totally spoiled all his life by his Nana's biscuits, but he gave these his stamp of approval. And Caroline probably would have eaten the whole batch if we'd let her. These were perfectly flaky (look at those layers!), nice and fluffy, and soft and tender with a crispy outside. All things I love in a biscuit, and I have a feeling these will be making another appearance this weekend for breakfast.
One Year Ago: Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots
Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits
adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
makes 10-12 biscuits
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
- 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
- 2 Tbs melted butter, for brushing
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pulse several times to combine well. Add the butter and lard and continue to pulse in 2-second increments, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces (about 5 pulses). This can also be done using a pastry blender or 2 forks if you don't have a food processor.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, pour the buttermilk over it, and use a fork to mix for about 1 minute, or until the dough just comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead with floured hands, and pat into a rectangle about 6x10 inches and 1-inch thick.
Fold the dough like a business letter (the righmost third over the center third, then the left third on top). Turn the dough a quarter of a turn, pat it into another 6x10 inch rectangle, and fold it upon itself in thirds again. Repeat one more time, then pat the dough into a 6x10 inch rectangle a final time.
Using a floured 2-3 inch biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits from the dough and place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Pat the scraps into a 1-inch thick rectangle and cut more biscuits.
Brush the tops with half the melted butter, and bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are just beginning to brown. Brush the tops again with the remaining butter and serve warm.