Friday, December 5, 2014

Sweet Potato Biscuits

I had some extra sweet potatoes leftover from Thanksgiving projects so I turned to the alluring idea of Sweet Potato Biscuits.  Who can refuse a fresh biscuit?  And as it turns out, these are terrific on their own, served with a big breakfast or as a canvas for a great little sandwich. 

This recipe is from Molly Wizenberg, perhaps better known as Orangette.  However, I made several adjustments: I deleted the cayenne and added a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.  I increased the baking powder to 1 tablespoon and dialed back the salt, using a scant 1/2 teaspoon.  I also lowered the oven temperature down to 400 degrees F and baked them for 15 – 16 minutes.  I post Molly's recipe as written along with my modifications.

These are a nice change from regular biscuits.  They are good just with a dollop of butter, honey or your favorite jam.  They’d be great with ham, mustard and honey, as Molly recommends.  Or if you happen to have any turkey leftovers hanging about, with an indulgence of gravy.  After all, 'tis the season.

Bench notes: 
- The recipe calls for boiling the sweet potatoes in water until tender.  I had leftover roasted sweet potatoes from my Spiced Sweet Potato Pie, which were roasted with butter, orange zest and spices.
- Let the sweet potatoes cool completely to let the steam escape so they won’t be too wet.
- Use a pastry blender if you'd rather not work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands.
- The recipe says to bake these in a buttered 9” x 1 1/2” cake pan but I just placed them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat.
- Once the biscuits are cut out, turning them upside down before placing them on prepared pan to bake gives them better loft.
- Molly's yield of 25 biscuits seems like a stretch.  Doesn't seem like you could get 25 biscuits in a 9" cake pan.  My biscuit cutter is 2 1/2” and I got 10 biscuits.  I think if you use her recommended 1 1/2" biscuit cutter, you'll probably get around 15 or so.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
Makes about 25 biscuits

12 oz sweet potato             
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) flour                                     
1 tablespoon (13 grams) dark brown sugar. packed                         
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder  [I used 1 tablespoon]
1 teaspoon salt                            [I used scant 1/2 teaspoon]
1/2 teaspoon baking soda                                                           
Pinch of cayenne pepper          [ I used a pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg]
4 oz (8 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into 1/2" cubes                   
1/3 cup cold buttermilk 
melted butter, for glazing                                                      

Peel and cut the sweet potato into chunks.  Cook in boiling water until tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Let them drain and cool thoroughly, then mash them.  Portion out 3/4 cup.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F [I baked them at 400 degrees F].  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9” cake pan with 1 1/2" high sides.  [I just placed them on a silpat-lined baking sheet.]

Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cayenne (or cinnamon and nutmeg, if using).  Add cold butter pieces to the flour mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.  Working quickly with your fingertips, pinch and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like pebbles the size of peas with some smaller crumbs.

Whisk together the 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and toss with a fork.  Gather it with your hands and knead gently just a few times until a soft dough comes together.  About 3 or 4 turns should be enough to consolidate the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured work surface and gently pat into 1” thick round.  Cut using 1 1/2” biscuit cutter [I used a 2 1/2" cutter], flouring after each cut and pushing straight down and lifting straight up to cut rather than twisting.  Turn the biscuits over (bottom side up) and place them in the prepared cake pan.  Brush the tops lightly with melted butter. 

Bake until puffed and golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center biscuit comes out clean, about 22 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the biscuits out and gently pull them apart.  Serve warm. 


Bryan said...

These are really delicious!
Sometimes biscuits are so tender they aren't suitable for anything more than eating out-of-hand with a little spread.
These have a great structure and held up nicely for sandwiches as you suggest.

I think i'll bake all of my biscuits upside-down from now on!

pastry studio said...

Isn't it kind of funny how that works?!

Happy Holidays!