Tuesdays with Dorie: Sour Cream Pecan Biscuits
Light and fluffy these were not. Sometimes, a baker loses her edge, and that, my friends, has been my sad tale of woe over the past week or so. Yes, I know, I had a couple recent successes, but I've had more mishaps than I care to mention. This delicious little paperweight is one of them.
Then I couldn't find my pecans, so I used walnuts.
My sour cream had frozen in the refrigerator. Yes, the refrigerator.
I discovered that my milk had soured, and had to use half-and-half.
I think the frozen sour cream and the half-and-half altered the water ratio in the final dough, because mine did not "pull together in a soft ball," to paraphrase Dorie. It was a crumbly mess, and I had to actively knead it (something you never want to do with biscuits or scones) to pull the dough together.
Then I rolled it too thin - 1/4 of an inch instead of the 1/2 inch in the recipe. By that point, I thought the dough might bite me, so I cut the "biscuits" out and threw them in the oven. Now I know why some people drink in the morning. And I hadn't even had my coffee yet! Note to self: do not attempt any baking at 7:00 a.m. without first having a cup of coffee.
I finally made myself a cup of Peet's Major Dickason's blend (thank you, Dowager Chow), and sniffed appreciatively as the scent of baking hockey pucks, . . . er, "tender biscuits" filled the air. And they did smell wonderful! They did not rise at all during the baking process, however, something that is supposed to happen with biscuits. When you haven't had to knead them. And you use the proper ingredients. My culinary shortcomings aside, I'm curious to see the results of other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers.
What I ended up with was more of a scone than a traditional American-style biscuit, but luckily I love both. Master Chow and I promptly devoured these tasty morsels (I only baked six - I froze the rest, unbaked, and then I did fifty minutes of cardio, I'll have you know!).
Eat Me, Delicious picked out this week's recipe. For the full roster of bakers, check out Tuesdays with Dorie. The recipe below reflects my adaptation of the original.
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
Adapted slightly from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan
(Makes about 16-20 biscuits if you use a 2 inch cutter)
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/2 cup cold sour cream
1/4 cold whole milk or buttermilk
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts, preferably toasted
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a bow. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between.
Stir the sour cream and milk together and pour over the dry ingredients. Grab a fork and gently toss and turn the ingredients together until you've got a soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gentle kneading-- 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together. Toss in the pecans and knead 2 to 3 times to incorporate them.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour, pat the dough out with your hands or toll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don't worry if the dough isn't completely even-- a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.
Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. When you cut the biscuit, cut straight down and do not "wiggle" the cutter - this compresses the dough and will keep it from rising. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of the first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working with them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. To firm up the butter a bit if you have worked the dough a bit too much, pop the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting-- just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)
Bake the biscuits for 14-18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Mine never got tall or puffed, but there's always a second chance!