The cookbook project commences! This is slightly a cheat, as this is a book I’ve already been cooking from, as discussed in the kosher salt post that launched this blog, but I think it makes sense to ease myself into this.
Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe | Joanne Chang
(Chronicle Books, 2010)
Buttermilk Biscuits with Parsley and Sage
Lots. Not least because I had a pot of buttermilk left over from making Joanne Chang’s red velvet cake (which turned out to be brown, because I didn’t check the recipe properly and the supermarket also had one bottle of red food dye, and a whole bottle isn’t enough to make it red, that’ll show me). The cake was awesome, though, and got me two marriage proposals, so yay. Although marriage proposals were more like threats of indentured baking servitude. Still, it’s nice to be wanted. I also wanted to try something savoury, as I’ve been baking sweet things. Also it allowed me to use both my new baking sheet and my new biscuit cutters. Also, I’m sure everyone knows this, but what Americans call biscuits, we call scones. Or near enough.
I struggled a little. Well, struggle is a strong word. But the book/Joanne Chang assumes that you’ll have a stand mixer, or at least a hand mixer. I have neither. They’re on the list. Combining the butter with the flour demanded time under the mixer, but as it said to mix until ‘the mixture resembles coarse crumbs’, I just rubbed the butter in by hand like you would when making a shortcrust pastry. That seemed to work once the buttermilk and so on were mixed in. I also went a little off-piste, in that the parsley is only supposed to go on top, but I threw a little into the dough mix as well.
It called for the buttermilk, cream and egg to be very cold, which makes sense, and working the super-cold dough was actually really satisfying. It just felt … right, and drove home to me that yes, Joel, you do find cooking therapeutic and yes you should do more of it.
I got a bit slapdash with the cutting out, so they’re not of an even size. They still seemed to cook evenly, which is nice.
They look like this:
They taste great. The sage flavour is stronger than I anticipated, given that fresh herbs sometimes aren’t so strong. The kosher salt has worked its magic again. The Flour book discusses them as an accompaniment to chicken pot pie, and that would definitely work. I think I’ll do them to accompany a casserole next time. They would also be AWESOME for soaking up gravy. I think it’s also an awesome base recipe for adding in, well, anything you like, really. They’re not quite scones, but they could work really well with, say, cinammon and raisins.
I’m trying not to be too evangelical, but Flour hasn’t steered me wrong so far. The recipes are very clear and easy to follow, and the results are fantastic.