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Nashville -The Rise of the Biscuit

Nashville – The Rise of the Biscuit

I enjoy traveling for food inspiration. My food travels recently took me to Nashville where there is an incredible food scene happening, in addition to the wonderful live music venues.  Nashville is the perfect place to indulge in my passion for food and music. Farm to Table restaurants abound in and out of the city.  I found inspired southern cooking everywhere. Many of the restaurants pride themselves in maintaining their southern cooking roots but approach food preparation in new exciting ways. As I ate my way around Nashville it became apparent that whether I was eating at the classic road stop – Loveless Cafe or fine dining at the Capital Grille in the famous Hermitage Hotel, there was a reference for the biscuit. If I wanted to recapture my food experiences back home on Long Island, I would need to master the southern biscuit.  I found the perfect book to take home with me – filled with biscuit recipes from the experts – “The Rise of the Southern Biscuit- The Biscuit Dive Guide” by Maryann Byrd.  I tried several recipes and I’m sharing my favorite. I also used some of the biscuit tricks in the book, that really made a difference in the  quality of the biscuit. Here are my favorite tricks:
1. Use a lower gluten flour – about 8% for a light airy biscuit – I bought a flour from the South – White Lily All purpose flour ( thank goodness for the the Amazon grocery) , the difference from the flour alone was remarkable.
2.  Don’t over handle the dough, use your finger tips, first to incorporate the lard into the flour and again when you are making your biscuits push the dough down lightly using your finger tips only ( the same is a good tip for pizza making as well)
3.  Use lard ! I found again my biscuits were better using a lard that is staple in southern pantries – Armour brand.
4. One of my favorite kitchen tricks, if you don’t have buttermilk just add 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar to whole milk an let sit a minute or two before using.
5. Instead of kneading the dough, I combine together and then fold 4 to 5 times to create layers.
Now you are ready to make light airy biscuits!  I’m also sharing an easy berry jam recipe, it uses apple as a natural pectin to make the jam. Biscuits and fresh jam – I can’t think of a better start to any day !!
From by the bay, wishing you Nashville food memories!
Maryann
 
Mondell’s Country Biscuits
From “The Rise of the Southern Biscuit- The Biscuit Dive Guide” by Maryann Byrd
Makes 12 biscuits
 
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift the dry ingredients together. Mix shortening with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the room temperature buttermilk until flour leaves
sides of the bowl and forms a ball. If it sticks, add a little more flour until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on to a floured surface and knead five to six times. Make sure the surface is not cold. You can roll out or pat out into 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on greased or non stick cookie sheet.  Brush with melted butter and then place in oven and bake 8 to 12 minutes until biscuits start to brown.
Easy Berry Breakfast Jam
approximately 10 ounces jam
Ingredients
6 ounces berries – such as strawberries, raspberries , blackberries or blueberries
1/2 cup fine white sugar
1/2 apple, peeled, cored and small dice
Directions
In a small saucepan bring sugar and berries to a boil stirring occassionally. Add apple and stir. Bring back to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Let cool and place in a jam jar or container. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata

There are so many things to look forward to in early spring and perhaps one of my great food pleasures is rhubarb. Rhubarb although often thought as a fruit is really a vegetable. We see rhubarb here in the northeast for such a brief period that once I see it in a store I grab what I can and make a series of dishes sweet and savory. This weekend is the beginning of a little rhubarb festival by the bay. The star of this festival is this delicious strawberry rhubarb crostata. A very crispy pie crust with a juicy filling of sweet strawberries and slightly sour rhubarb. It’s fantastic. I love the tangy taste of rhubarb! If I have enough rhubarb I often opt to use just rhubarb alone in the filling and add a little more sugar to balance it out. I’m in love with  the bright vibrant color of the filling. This is definitely a perfect early spring treat!

From by the bay wishing you delicious rhubarb food memories!

Maryann

Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata

Serves 4

Ingredients for Dough

  • 8 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter ( one stick)
  • 1cup , plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for filling

  • 2 cups rhubarb  (stalks only) cut into 1/2 inch pieces and hulled and sliced strawberries combined (50/50)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To assemble

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Coarse sugar

Directions

To make dough cube the butter.  In a small bowl combine sea salt and water. Place both the butter and salt water in the freezer for 10 minutes. In a food processor add the flour and lemon zest. Pulse twice. Add the cold butter and pulse 3 to 4 times to incorporate pieces of butter into the flour. Slowly add some water until the dough is a crumb like texture. You may not need all of the water. Place dough onto plastic wrap and fold wrap over to close and push dough together to combine. Flatten into a disk covered with the plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Preheat over to 375 degrees F.  Take a piece of parchment paper and place the dough in the center cover with the plastic sheet and use a rolling pin to roll out and fold turn parchment sheet  90 degrees and repeat another 3 times. Roll out the dough on the parchment on the bottom again with plastic wrap over the top of the dough into a round approximately 1/8 inch thick. Spoon the filling in the center of the round leaving a 1 inch border all around. Fold the edges over the filling partially covering around the border. Place parchment with pie carefully onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and cream to make the wash. Remove from the refrigerator and brush the egg wash on the edges of the pie. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and place into oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the crust is brown and the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Slide carefully onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cranberry Eggnog Scones

This scone is like taking a bite of Christmas, eggnog and bourbon soaked cranberries…. the perfect start to Christmas morning or perhaps your perfect morning for these scones are New Year’s weekend , when you still have the last of the eggnog left and you are wondering how to use it. I do think this recipe is worthy buying some eggnog for your holiday but if you don’t have any eggnog, please feel free to replace the 1 cup of eggnog with 1 cup of heavy cream.

From by the bay, wishing you sweet eggnog food memories!

Maryann

Cranberry Eggnog Scones

Makes approximately 8 sconces

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bourbon or rum or apple juice depending on preference ( I use Bourbon)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chilled eggnog, plus more for brushing
  • Demerara or raw sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions

In a small sauce pan add bourbon and dried cranberries. Bring to a simmer and stir a few times. Turn off heat and  set aside for 15 minutes. There liquid should be soaked up by the cranberries , if not strain any remaining liquid and set the cranberries aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt and whisk together. Add butter and blend with fingertips until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in cranberries. Whisk eggnog and eggs in a small bowl and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined do not overwork. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat to 1 inch round. Cut out rounds using 3 inch cookie cutter. Gather dough to cut additional rounds. Transfer scones to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush dough with eggnog and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake scones for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until golden brown approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. Scones are best eaten same day.

Stone Fruit Crostata

blog peach crostata

Some of my favorite food memories are from my grandparents farm and enjoying all the seasonal joys of the produce. Peach and plum season is on exception. Celebrate the winding down of the summer and the height of the stone fruit and peach season with this delicious crostata recipe. The crust is light, buttery and crisp. The coarse sugar adds a sweet crunch to the crust. The fruit sweet and bursting with flavor. It’s definitely one of the favorite desserts by the bay. You’ll love it!

From by the bay wishing you sweet and crispy crust food memories!

Maryann

Stone Fruit Crostata

Serves 4

Ingredients for Dough

  • 8 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter ( one stick)
  • 1cup , plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Ingredients for filling

  • 1 1/2 cups stone fruit such as peaches or plums , pitted and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

To assemble

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Coarse sugar

Directions

To make dough cube the butter.  In a small bowl combine sea salt and water. Place both the butter and salt water in the freezer for 10 minutes. In a food processor add the flour and lemon zest. Pulse twice. Add the cold butter and pulse 3 to 4 times to incorporate pieces of butter into the flour. Slowly add some water until the dough is a crumb like texture. You may not need all of the water. Place dough onto plastic wrap and fold wrap over to close and push dough together to combine. Flatten into a disk covered with the plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Preheat over to 375 degrees F.  Take a piece of parchment paper and place the dough in the center cover with the plastic sheet and use a rolling pin to roll out and fold turn parchment sheet  90 degrees and repeat another 3 times. Roll out the dough on the parchment on the bottom again with plastic wrap over the top of the dough into a round approximately 1/8 inch thick. Spoon the filling in the center of the round leaving a 1 inch border all around. Fold the edges over the filling partially covering around the border. Place parchment with pie carefully onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and cream to make the wash. Remove from the refrigerator and brush the egg wash on the edges of the pie. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and place into oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the crust is brown and the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Slide carefully onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.