15 June 2010
A tatty old copy of The New York Times resurfaced recently containing a recipe I have been meaning to try ever since I saw it.
It's such a simple recipe with no fussy steps or myriad of non-staple ingredients and yet it still produces the most lovely flaky, grown-up biscuits, like a delicate flaky pastry scone/tea biscuit (which doesn't fall apart). Lucy loves them, and best of all (apart from the cream, if that is a worry to you) is how little (or no) sugar they contain.
I have made them twice; the first time a half recipe and the second time in full and they came out perfect both times. Genius! Go James Beard.
5 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional) - I just use a pinch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream - I use regular cream, which works out just fine
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush a baking sheet with a little melted butter. Sift 2 cups flour, the baking powder, salt and (if using) sugar into a large bowl. Fold in 1 1/4 cups of cream. If the dough is not soft or easily handled, fold in the remaining 1/4 cup cream, little by little.
2. Turn dough onto a floured surface, mound it into a ball, and using a rolling pin or your hands, press it to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Cut into rounds (or any other shape - Lucy chose gingerbread men and Christmas tree shapes, I chose hearts) 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Gather dough scraps and continue to make rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush the tops with butter. Bake until golden, about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes about 9 biscuits. Adapted from "James Beard's American Cookery"
The New York Times (3.16.08)