My search for the ultimate biscuit is over. Shirley Corriher is a food chemist, writer, Food Network TV personality and cook. Growing up in Georgia, her grandmother used to bake these featherlight biscuits three times a day. When Shirley was young, as hard as she tried, whenever she followed her grandmother's recipe they would never come out quite the same.
"I used her bread bowl, her flour, her buttermilk - I did everything the same, and I shaped the biscuits just as she did. But mine always turned out a dry, mealy mess. I would cry, "Nannie, what did I do wrong?" She would lean down and give me a big hug and say, "Honey, I guess you forgot to add a touch of grace." It took me twenty years to figure out what I was missing."
Her secret was rolling spoonfuls of wet batter in flour then placing them close together in the pan to allow the steam and biscuits to rise. Make them with White Lilly or another low protein, soft winter wheat brand of self rising flour and they will taste even better. I used a generic, local brand and these heavenly biscuits were still far superior to any biscuit I have ever tasted. They are in a league of their own. I dropped the wet batter into the flour with a spoon then snuggled 15 of them together in my 10 inch oven. If you don't have a 10 inch dutch oven bake them in an 8 or 9 inch cake pan or pie plate inside your larger oven. They need to be placed close together for them to rise properly. I started baking them in a cold oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22-24 on top. Also, I brushed the melted butter on them before baking, I think biscuits brown better that way in a dutch oven. Mine were ready in about 18 minutes, check them after 15 minutes to make sure they aren't browning too quickly. Whatever you do, run, don't walk to your grocery store and pick up the ingredients to make yourself a batch. Life is too short to deprive yourself of the chance to taste these sweet, delectable biscuits. From "Cookwise" by Shirley O. Corriher.
Touch of Grace Biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour, preferably a low-protein Southern flour like White Lilly
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tblsp vegetable shortening
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tblsp butter, melted
Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the self-rising flour, sugar, and salt. Work shortening in with your fingers until there are no large lumps. Gently stir in the cream, then enough buttermilk so that the dough resembles wet cottage cheese. If you are not using White Lilly flour, you may need to add more buttermilk.
Spread one cup all-purpose flour on a plate or pie pan. Using a medium ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop a biscuit-size amount of dough and gently drop it into the flour. Sprinkle with flour to coat. Pick it up and gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as you work. Place biscuit in prepared dutch oven or pan. Repeat. Crowd biscuits in pan as close to each other as possible; this helps them rise.
Bake at 425 degrees until lightly browned, 18-20 minutes. Brush with melted butter. Cut with knife or spatula and remove. Serve warm with butter or jam. Makes 15 biscuits.
|Wet batter with texture of cottage cheese