Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet Potato and Buttermilk Biscuits

Last night I had lentil stew which I served with some apricot gooseberry chutney I had in the fridge and topped it all off with a dollop of quark - a bio dynamic sour cream-ish product made by Hawthorne Farms.

When I was buying the Quark at the market this very nerdy guy who was standing next to mumbled:

"sub atomic particle"

It took me a minute to make the leap from dairy products to quarks I smiled:

"sorry it took me minute to get that"

He then launched into an explanation about how it was James Joyce who invented the word quark and preceded to quote the line from the Joyce book he first used it in. All of this over the purchase of a dairy product.

You gotta love New Yorkers.

I made these biscuits to go with the lentil stew . What motivated me was that I had left over buttermilk in the fridge and some sweet potatoes. I wanted a bread product, but hadn't the time to do something with yeast. I think these are my favorite biscuits I've ever made because they stay moist! Most biscuits have a very short shelf life and become dry the minute they have cooled from the oven.

The potatoes in this version help keep them very moist and I think you could just as easily used white potatoes or yams in place of the sweet potatoes.

Also I used whole wheat bread flour which is locally ground and contains the whole grain if you can find locally milled traditional flours I heartily encourage you to buy and use them. Otherwise play around with the proportions I like the idea that a whole grain flour can help keep the biscuit moist and also add some fiber.

Sweet Potato and Buttermilk Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Butter an 8x10 or 9x9 pan.

Peel and roughly chop 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 pounds of sweet potatoes (you want a scant cup) and boil them until they are very soft, drain add 1/3 cup whole buttermilk and mash.

In a separate bowl combined 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional).

With your finger incorporate 8 tablespoons of cold, unsalted, organic butter.

With a wooden spoon stir in the reserved sweet potato mixture. It will be fairly wet, add a few more tablespoons of whole wheat flour and pat into the prepared baking dish.

Optionally I like to take my knife and divide up the biscuits at this point so when they have finished baking it is easier to divide them. You should get about 8-10 biscuits doubling the recipe is a good idea as they will disappear fast! Conversely you can also divide the dough into 8-10 balls (using flour as needed) and place them side by side in the pan.

Melt 1 1/2 T of butter and brush it over the biscuits before you place them in the oven.

Bake about 20 minutes. They be lightly browned and puffed. Cool on a rack until they are cool enough to handle.

Alternatively you could add 2 T of chopped fresh herbs to the dough before cooking like sage, savory, rosemary or Thyme.



chris&skip>AVL said...

Have been wondering about quark. For me Quark is a graphic design program made archaic by InDesign.

Was storyboarding a upcoming home dairy book and wondered what is this stuff called quark? Like Creme Fraiche meets Kefir? Need to make or find some.

Urban Food Guy said...

The best place to get Quark is

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