Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cream Biscuits with Jam Butter


So, the husband turned a prime number in age. We have been meaning to go out for prime rib* in celebration, but life seems to have other plans for us. As in many, big other plans. Those plans include an impromptu trip back to Salt Lake City (a story for another day) and the preparation for a trip to Illinois to see the family. However, to celebrate the husband's entrance into the prime of his life (or at least a year of it), I made him a birthday breakfast, which featured these lovely biscuits.

* I am not a huge fan of prime rib, but I am willing to at least go to a steakhouse in honor of entering a prime number year and order a hell of a salad.  These are the sacrifices one makes for marriage.

Last month, I happened upon this cookbook while wandering the lovely Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino,  and I snapped it up. While Karen Mordechai and (what seems like delightful) company present a whole host of lovely menus in honor of the spur-of-the-moment gathering of strangers and friends alike, individual recipes can be plucked and selected with reckless abandon and a devil-may-care attitude.  Okay, maybe that was a little more insouciant than necessary. I got carried away. Nonetheless, the cookbook invites both the full menu and the ad hoc picking and choosing.  

This recipe comes from a menu that encourages scrambled eggs, sauteed greens, blood oranges, freshly extracted juice, and savory french-press coffee. We went with merely biscuits with the jam butter, and we were well served.




The biscuits are light and fluffy and ever-so-easy to whip up.  With a little less sugar (as in, say, 1 tablespoon less), these could easily be converted into the base of a delightful biscuits and gravy breakfast or a side for a dinner.  However, as is, they are the perfect foundation for a slathering of butter, jam, honey, or just plain air.  Do knead the biscuits thoroughly, as those that were folded a few extra times were the most heavenly.  



The only thing missing was a mimosa.  In the meantime, let's raise our virtual champagne glasses in a toast:  Here's to celebrations of one's prime, regardless of what life throws.



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Cream Biscuits with Jam Butter
Adapted from Sunday Suppers

Yield:
Makes 8 biscuits

Ingredients:  
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 Tbsp of jam (any flavor)

Instructions:
1. Set an oven rack in the upper-middle position, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with a little spray oil.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon, mixing until a dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out on a slightly floured surfafe and gather it into a bowl. Knead the dough until smooth.

3.  Pat the dough to form a 3/4-inch-thick round.  Cut into 8 biscuits, using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, dipping the cutter in flour to keep the dough from sticking to it. Do not twist the cutter--simply cut and lift.

4.  Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until golden brown, 12-18 minutes. Let the biscuits cool slightly on the baking sheet.

5.  By hand or with an electric mixer, mix the stick of butter with the jam.  Scrape into a ramekin for serving, or place onto a sheet of wax paper and roll into a log for storing.  This will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

6.  Serve each biscuit with the butter-jam mixture.

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