Tuesday, December 30, 2008

biscuit sandwiches


It's been months and all I've got to show for it are three biscuit sandwiches.

For basic training fare like southern-style biscuits, Alton Brown's my go-to guy. That obsessive, know-it-all attitude of his has got to be effective for identifying the best biscuit recipe out there from the many thousands that exist.

Southern Biscuits

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt, chilled

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first.)

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

Easy, fast, and good for your periodic savory flaky pastry fix. As for those sandwiches...those happened after we cured our fix and still had 8 biscuits left over. We've crammed each biscuit with a slice of heirloom tomato, a slice of cucumber, a couple sweet "bread and butter" pickles, and a generous helping of roast beef (from Whole Foods). A swab of dijon mustard and some fresh cracked black pepper made for a spicy finishing touch.