Anyone who bakes biscuits has an idea of what makes theirs the best. Some swear by shortening, others insist on butter and the purist will accept nothing less than lard. I, on the other hand, think that the most beautiful biscuit is made with cream.
Yes, my friends. I know I will probably be run out of Nashville for suggesting such heresy, but I assure you, this biscuit will be the best you’ve ever made. And if you’ve never made a biscuit? Perfect! There is nothing more simple than this recipe. No sifting. No kneading. No cutting in of the fat. No rolling. No biscuit cutters. Nothing but 1 bowl and 2 ingredients. Just bring the dough together and fold it a couple of times. Cut into squares and you’re done! That’s it. It’s that simple.
This recipe makes 16 biscuits and can be easily modified into a dessert or savory biscuit, I’ll show you how.
2 ¼ cups (298 grams) self rising flour, plus additional flour for dusting, preferably unbleached
1 ¼ cups (296 milileters/10 ounces) heavy cream, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for brushing the tops
(Optional for Dessert Biscuits)
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup pearl or demerara sugar
How to Use Them:
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
Chill your heavy cream by placing it in the freezer 15 minutes prior to making your biscuits. You want your ingredients to be as cold as possible and this time in the freezer gives the cream a boost of chill that protects the dough against your warm hands.
Place the flour in a medium size bowl and whisk the flour to aerate. This technique accomplishes the same thing as sifting, except it’s a lot less messy and you don’t loose flour to your sifter or the counter. If you are making a dessert biscuit, also add in the 1 tablespoon of sugar here. If you would like a more savory biscuit, add in your favorite chopped fresh herbs and a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese for a salty nuttiness.
With a spatula, stir in the heavy cream until just combined. Do not over stir.The dough will be sticky, but don’t worry about that, it will come together. Dust the surface you’ll be working on with a bit of flour, approximately a tablespoon, and rub your hands with some flour as well. Begin gathering the dough to the center of the bowl.Turn the dough onto the floured surface and gently bring it together to form a cohesive ball and then flatten into a rough disk. Pat it down gently, with light pressure and fold one half over the other. Flatten a bit once more and fold it over once again. Repeat this one more time.Gently pat the dough into a 7” x 7” square, using a ruler to help guide you and for measuring. Using the rule or sharp knife, cut the dough in half, down the middle and then cut each half into another half. Repeat this process so that the lines intersect and form 16 equal squares. There are several advantages to cutting the dough into squares rather than rounds with a cutter. With this technique, there are no scraps, it’s quicker and you don’t over-work the dough each time you knead it.
Place the biscuit squares on a baking sheet and brush with the 2 tablespoons of cream. If you’re making dessert biscuits as I am here, lightly brush them with cream and sprinkle some pearl sugar on top, demerara sugar would work nicely as well, adding that same touch of sweet and a bit of a crunch.
Bake until light golden brown 11-13 minute. Serve immediately. If using the biscuits for a dessert, allow them to cool and gently pull apart to prepare to fill.Serve with European butter and homemade jam or top with some fresh whipped cream, ice cream or these farm fresh strawberries macerated with honey, aged balsamic vinegar and fresh organic basil. It is also absolutely lovely with this sunshine of seasonal honey mint peach berry salad.