Biscuitsa Savor the South® cookbook



A heartfelt tribute to the biscuit celebrates the many possible flavors and uses for this classic southern bread.

For fifteen years, food writer Belinda Ellis traveled around the country for the White Lily® flour company, teaching people to make biscuits and listening to their stories. “I learned that deep in the soul of a biscuit, there’s more than the flour, fat, and milk. A hot biscuit embodies a memory of place and family,” she writes. Ellis’s heartfelt tribute to the biscuit celebrates the many possible flavors and uses for this classic southern bread. The first recipe in the book is a master recipe with step-by-step photographs showing how to make the perfect biscuit.

 

In an evocative and enlightening introduction, Ellis delights readers with biscuit history and its intimate connections with southern culture and foodways. The book’s 55 recipes range from traditional to inventive offering a biscuit for every occasion: Flaky Butter Biscuits; John Egerton’s Beaten Biscuits; Pancetta, Rosemary, and Olive Oil Biscuits; and The Southern Reuben.

Belinda Ellis is editor of Edible Piedmont, a North Carolina food magazine, and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance.

“SAVOR THE SOUTH–designed to give Dixie’s most time-honored ingredients their due.”
–Garden & Gun

 

“Full of good stories about good food, Biscuits features a marvelous selection of the easy-to-make and easy-to-love recipes. The master biscuit recipe alone proves that Ellis is a force to be reckoned with.”
–Kelly Alexander, author of Peaches: a Savor the South Cookbook

 

“I love Belinda Ellis’s biscuits! I have made thousands of biscuits with Belinda and her biscuits are the best! Belinda’s book, Biscuits, is a treasure. Belinda shares these beloved recipes ready for you to make.”
–Shirley O. Corriher, author of CookWise and BakeWise

 

Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits

Southern Reuben

Cream Scones

 

 

 

Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits

 

Why not put the bacon right in the biscuit? That way it doesn’t slide out of the biscuit while you’re eating it.

 

Makes 8 biscuits

 

  • 2 cups soft wheat all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks and chilled for 15 minutes
  • 6–8 ounces smoky bacon
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3⁄4 cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat

 

Preheat the oven to 425°. Use a baking sheet.

 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until it’s the size of small peas.

 

In a skillet over low heat, cook the bacon until done. Drain on paper towels, reserving the rendered fat. Finely chop the bacon and return to the skillet. Cook over low heat until the bacon is crisp and most of the fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

 

Stir the bacon and half of the cheese into the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk and rendered bacon fat and stir to combine. Add additional buttermilk if needed to create a sticky dough.

 

Using an ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon, drop the biscuits onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

 

Bake for 12 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown.

 

 

Southern Reuben

 

Makes 4 small sandwiches or 2 New York–sized sandwiches

 

  • 1 cup soft wheat all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk, plus more if needed
  • All-purpose flour
  • Melted butter for brushing the tops
  • 4 tablespoons Russian or Thousand Island dressing
  • 1⁄2 cup well-drained sauerkraut
  • 1⁄2 pound thinly sliced corned beef
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 450°. Use a nonstick cake pan or baking sheet.

 

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, rye flour, baking powder, salt, and caraway seeds in a large mixing bowl.

 

Mix together the olive oil and milk in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the olive oil and milk. Starting at the sides of the bowl, use a spatula or wooden spoon to toss the flour over the milk. Continue to work in the flour from the sides of the bowl, just until the dough comes together.

 

If the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and sticks to your fingers, you have the right amount of milk. If there are dry spots and the dough isn’t sticky when you touch it, add more milk.

 

Dust a surface with all-purpose flour and turn the dough out onto the surface. Flour your hands, then cuddle the dough by pressing your hands around the outer edges. Pat and press the top of the dough with your floured hands. Fold the dough in half, pat it, and fold it again. Repeat this two or three times until the outside of the dough feels less sticky and becomes smooth.

 

Use a rolling pin or pat the dough 1⁄2 inch thick.

 

Cut the biscuits using a 3-inch biscuit cutter without twisting the cutter, or for large sandwiches, cut the dough in half with a bench knife, and then cut around the edges to make 2 large squares. Place the biscuits in the cake pan or baking sheet so they touch if you like soft sides or about 1⁄2 inch apart for crisper sides.

 

Bake the biscuits in the center of the oven until they’re light golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Brush the tops with melted butter.

 

To assemble the sandwich, slice each biscuit in half horizontally once the biscuits have cooled slightly. Spread dressing on each cut side, then place sauerkraut, corned beef, and a slice of Swiss cheese on the bottom half of the biscuit. Top with the other half, dressing-side down.

Butter the outside of the biscuits and place them in a skillet over medium-high heat, cover with a lid, and cook to brown the outside and melt the cheese, turning once.

 

Cream Scones

 

Makes 6-8 scones

 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks and chilled for 15 minutes
  • 3⁄4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the tops
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • All-purpose flour for dusting

Optional add-ins

  • Finely chopped chocolate bar
  • Grated lemon zest and fresh blueberries
  • Grated orange zest and dried cranberries
  • Raisins and pecans
  • Scraped vanilla bean

 

Preheat the oven to 450°. Use a nonstick cake pan or baking sheet.

 

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the cold chunks of butter and toss them in the flour to coat. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, break up the chunks until they’re about the size of peas. If you’re including additional ingredients, stir them in now.

 

Mix together the cream and egg in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream and egg. Starting at the sides of the bowl, use a spatula or wooden spoon to toss the flour over the cream. Continue to work in the flour from the sides of the bowl, just until the dough comes together.

 

If the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and sticks to your fingers, you have the right amount of cream. The mixture will be slightly dry.

 

Dust a surface with all-purpose flour and turn the dough out onto the surface. Flour your hands, then cuddle the dough by pressing your hands around the outer edges. Pat and press the top of the dough with your floured hands. Fold the dough in half, pat it, and fold it again. Repeat this two or three times until the outside of the dough feels less sticky and becomes smooth.

 

Divide the dough in half. Use a rolling pin or pat each piece of dough to a round about 1 inch thick. Cut each round into 3–4 wedges. Place the wedges on the cake pan or baking sheet about 1⁄2 inch apart. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

 

Bake the scones in the center of the oven until they’re light golden brown, 12–14 minutes.

 

From Biscuits: a Savor the South® cookbook by Belinda Ellis. Copyright © 2013 by the University of North Carolina Press.  Used by permission of the publisher.