Madison Best of the Best: Preservation worthy Biscuits

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Cathy Best

Cathy Best

Last weekend, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation rambled through Plains and Americus. I caught up with the fall ramble, in Americus Sunday morning, just in time for brunch.

There’s a lot to share about the day, and I’ll cover it, like butter on a biscuit, in subsequent articles but, right now, I’m cuttin to the chase. Cousins Catering out of Americus laid out, maybe, the most impressive brunch fare I’ve had in a long time, for a large group.

Fresh shrimp, sautéed on site, topped off with well-seasoned creamy stoneground grits were delicious served with diced Andouille sausage, crumbled bacon and tomato gravy condiment choices.

A medley of fresh fruit and, not your run of the mill, assorted cheeses, complemented the seafood. Large, not saucer size- but close, tender biscuits were split in half, brushed with melted butter on the inside, and grilled buttered-side down on a griddle.

They served a half biscuit, unless you nodded for the second half, reducing the calorie guilt. Country ham, red-eye gravy, sausage gravy and assorted jams, jellies and honey were available to garnish the biscuit.

But honestly, the biscuits were irresistible all by their lonesome. I’ve never had a buttery biscuit on a griddle before and I may never have another biscuit that hasn’t been browned to golden perfection. It’s necessary you try this.

You’ll thank me.

I, once again, dug out my favorite biscuit recipe, which graces the pages of Nathalie Dupree’s Southern Memories cookbook and Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. All you have to do is dig out the griddle and melt a little more butter.

Know this: if you’re not well versed in biscuit baking, a wet-dough recipe is more tender than a dry-dough and a bigger biscuit is best on the griddle. If this recipe isn’t the one I inhaled in Americus, it’s so close you’ll need James Beard to tell the difference.

Shop for Cookbooks In Madison: BB&G, South Main: carries Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. Laughing Moon, South Main Madison Gift Mart, West Washington St Follow me on Twitter @ cbestdiscovery Share what you’ve discovered @ bestdiscovery@aol.com

Shirley Corriher’s Country Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 12 to 18 biscuits

INGREDIENTS 2-1/2 cups self-rising flour (if self-rising flour is not available, combine 1 cup AP flour, tsp salt, and 1-1/2 tsp baking powder) 1/8 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 tbsp sugar 3 tbsp shortening 7/8 cup buttermilk (1 cup minus 2 tbsp) 2 tbsp butter, melted

METHOD Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray. Combine 1-1/2 cups flour, the soda, salt, and sugar. With your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the shortening into the flour mixture until there are no shortening lumps larger than a small pea. Stir in the buttermilk and let the dough stand 2 or 3 minutes. It will be very wet. This dough is so wet that you cannot shape it in the usual manner. Pour the remaining cup of flour onto a plate or pie pan. Flour your hands well. Spoon or scoop with a small ice cream scoop a biscuit-sized lump of wet dough into the flour and sprinkle some flour on top. With your hands, shape the biscuit into a soft round, gently shaking off any excess flour. The dough is so soft that it will not hold its shape. As you shape each biscuit, place it into an 8-inch round cake pan, pushing the biscuits tightly against each other so that they will rise up rather than spread out. Continue shaping the biscuits in this manner using all the dough. Brush the biscuits with the melted butter and place on the oven shelf just above the center. Increase the oven temperature to 475°F and bake 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool a minute or two in the pan. Now comes the part where you split, butter and grill.

 

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