Tag Archives: biscuits

bread: part 2

Being a good Southerner, cornbread and biscuits played predominate rolls in my culinary upbringing.  My mother made good cornbread and we absolutely loved it with butter and molasses.  So good . . . such a treat.  This is still a treasured supper dish in our house now.  Our children adore cornbread and molasses – finding it as big a treat as I did as a child.

Mom-mom, however, was not a born Southerner, coming from Oregon, but she endeavored to make a pan of cornbread nearly everyday for farm dinners (mid-day meal).  Her cornbread was very different from my mother’s.  Hers was flat and dense and quite sweet – everything my mother’s wasn’t.  You didn’t put molasses on that flat bread, just butter.  I don’t know where she learned how to make it like that, and I’ve never seen cornbread like it anywhere else.  But, it was good.  And, my grandfather liked it – and that was all that really mattered.

We were not a strong biscuit family.  Sure, we ate biscuits, made good ones and liked them, but I don’t recall anything special about them – no important techniques, recipes, or ingredient secrets that were passed on.  In fact, the first biscuits I remember making were with my great-grandmother, Grammy.  I thought it was amazing and I loved helping her.  First, you took a cardboard tube and peeled off the top, then you whacked it hard on the counter and pulled doughy biscuits out and set them on a pan.  We baked them for 10 minutes and you were done.  Grammy was a farm wife with four children, and many time-consuming tasks, who did not really enjoy cooking.  For her, sliced bread really was one of the best inventions . . . canned biscuits, a close second.

I make biscuits like my mother (and mother-in-law) did – from scratch and almost once a week.  They are easy to make, and often I make them because they are fast and filling for this small brood of mine.  This past fall, I checked out a book from the library called Biscuit – part of the Southern Foodways Alliance series.  It was a great little reference and had many rifts on biscuits I wanted to try.  I turned the book in after a few weeks but my mind kept coming back to it every time I made biscuits.  So, when I was in a book store in Raleigh last month, I bought this little gem.  I’ve made a few of the different biscuits and it has been fun.  One of the most popular in our house has been the fried pie recipe.  Basically, a biscuit dough, rolled thin, filled with spiced pumpkin or apple, deep fried, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  So good!

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mixing dough

 

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currant, gorgonzola, pecan biscuits
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fried apple pies

 

Bake on Tuesday: Angel Biscuits

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For the first week of re-creating my great grandmother’s (Nana’s) recipes, I was looking for something fairly quick and easy to make for supper and my eyes fell on Angel Biscuits. I’ve always wanted to try to make Angel Biscuits because they sounded light and delicious (they have angel in the name!) and were not complicated to make. Also, they are one of those foods you can mix together now but cook later which is always helpful in our household of busy, hungry children. It is a basic biscuit recipe with a little less instant leavening and with the addition of yeast. Since you don’t cut and cook them right away, they take on a little different texture and flavor than regular biscuits.

You can mix these up before going to bed and roll out and cook them the next morning, or do as I did and mix in the morning after breakfast, cook at night for supper. This recipe also makes a large number of biscuits–also great for our household–so we had biscuits for breakfast the next day as well. You can bake some or all of the biscuits at one time. You can have fresh biscuits for a few days if you just take out a little dough each day to roll, cut, and bake.

These biscuits were light (though not flakey) and delicious and had a slight yeast-y flavor which I loved.

You will like them too!

Mix dry ingredients

biscuit dough

roll and cut

bake

eat

I am putting these recipes in as Nana had written them, but I have my own notes in brackets

Angel Biscuits

5 cups flour
¾ cup vegetable shortening [I used butter and lard, but all butter would be great too]
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
3 tsp. B. Powder
3 TBlspn. sugar
1 cake yeast dissolved in ½ cup water [I used a little less than 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast]
2 cups buttermilk, warm [Barely heat the buttermilk or it will curdle. I forgot about it on the stove and ended up with cheese. The second time, I warmed it up for a very short time.]

Sift dry ingredients together, cut in shortening, add warm buttermilk and yeast mixture. Stir until all flour is moistened. Cover bowl, put in refrigerator until ready to use. Take out as needed. Bake 450 deg.