I find great pleasure in preparing biscuits in the early morning hours. They’re very easy to make with just a few simple ingredients. It’s mostly all in the technique, making sure you keep the butter and liquids very cold and don’t over handle the dough. And who can resist a warm biscuit fresh from the oven?
To mix things up a bit, I’ve made some biscuits that are baked on top of a combination of butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, orange zest and pecans. They’re sort of a super quick and less sweet version of a sticky bun without the yeast and the heaviness. The biscuits are made very tender with the addition of buttermilk and plain yogurt. The whole thing bakes in about 20 minutes.
This is a fun brunch item for lazy weekend mornings when you can take the time to enjoy the start of the day and indulge a bit. Serve these warm with some coffee and you’ll be on your way.
- Lining the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment makes it much easier to remove the warm biscuits from the pan. When I turned out the biscuits, the parchment stayed in the pan with very little topping stuck behind.
- Add a very light sprinkle of salt to the topping if you prefer.
- Use a pastry blender if you'd rather not work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands.
- The dough will be soft and moist but not sticky. Do your best not to over work the dough, which causes the butter to warm, toughens the dough and produces a heavier biscuit.
- Plain Buttermilk Biscuits or Sweet Potato Biscuits are also fabulous.
Upside Down Maple Pecan Biscuits
1 1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (1 1/4 oz) maple syrup
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup (1 3/4 oz) pecans, coarsely chopped
2 cups (10 oz) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon (13 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 oz (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup (4 oz) cold buttermilk
1/2 cup (4 oz) plain cold yogurt
1/2 oz (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted for brushing
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9” cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment.
For the topping, place the melted butter in the prepared pan and swirl it around to cover the entire surface. Drizzle the maple syrup on top of the butter. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest and sprinkle evenly on top of the butter and syrup. Top with the coarsely chopped pecans. Chill while you prepare the biscuits.
For the biscuits, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2” pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using your hands, toss to coat all the pieces of butter with flour. Working quickly with a pastry blender or your fingers, pinch and flatten the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of peas with some smaller crumbs.
Combine the buttermilk and yogurt. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour it in. Using a fork, fluff the flour into the center and gently stir and turn the ingredients until you have a soft dough. Give it a gentle kneading; about 3 - 4 turns should be enough to consolidate the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface that's been very lightly dusted with flour. Pat it into a round 8" in diameter. Use a 2 1/2" cutter to form the biscuits, pushing straight down and lifting up to cut rather than twisting. Place the biscuits on top of the pecan mixture, lining up 8 evenly spaced around the edge of the pan and 1 in the center. Use some of the scraps and fill in any large holes around the center biscuit. Brush the tops lightly with melted butter.
Bake until they are puffed and the tops are golden brown, about 20 – 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and within a minute or so, use mitts or a potholder to invert the pan onto a platter. Lift off the pan and gently remove the parchment. Scrape any topping left in the pan back onto the biscuits. Serve warm.