Last Sunday I had the pleasure of attending “Biscuit Lab” with Cheater Chefs Mindy and R.B. hosted by the Grow Local Kitchen at the Nashville Farmer’s Market. Yankees don’t make biscuits. Ok, correction, my mother never made biscuits. I had a college friend (you know who you are) who’s hangover cure was biscuits with pork sausage gravy, but honestly, that was the full extent of my biscuit experience. Enter instructors Mindy and R.B., who, in the timespan of two hours made twelve different kinds of biscuits (yes, twelve!).
I thought we were going to learn a biscuit recipe then go home. Boy was I ever mistaken! We made southern biscuits, Loveless Café biscuits, biscuits like puff pastry, biscuits made with cream or buttermilk, with lard or shortening, and dense biscuits like scones (YUM) with coarse sugar on top to serve with tea, just to name a few.
I even got to scoop a handful of lard to make the biscuit recipe that had no measurements, like olden days when moms and grandmas (well, maybe your moms and grandmas) just knew how much of every ingredient was enough. I was on biscuit overload.
With few willing volunteers, I was able to get extra hands-on experience with two recipes. The Pillow Biscuit (as I aptly named it after tasting) was my personal winner for all 12 kinds. These biscuits are pillowy, soft, rich and almost cake-like inside. Schmear with some jam or honey for a lovely breakfast treat.
Pillow Biscuits – Mindy Merrill’s recipe
Print This Recipe!
Makes: 10-12 biscuits
- 2 cups self-rising flour plus extra flour for dredging
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/3 cup of shortening (that’s crisco, folks)
- about 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 450. Grease an 8 or 9″ round cake pan with shortening or butter.
2. Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl and mix with your fingers. Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the sugar and flour. You’ll have to use your fingers to get the butter off of the pastry blender every 30 seconds or so. Cut in the shortening until it is pea-sized. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can also use two knives or your even your fingers.
3. Stir in the buttermilk until the dough looks like cottage cheese, mix well (stay with me here).
4. Pour about a cup and a half of flour onto your work surface. Using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, scoop a golfball sized portion of the wet dough into the flour. Coat all over with flour and gently drop into your greased pan. Repeat until no dough is left. Crowd the biscuits and have them touching once they are placed in the pan.
5. Bake 15-20 minutes until puffed up like pillows and golden brown on top. brush tops with melted butter, serve with jam or honey. Collect accolades!