sel gris and Szechuan peppercorn biscuits
My husband and I often toast and grind our own Szechuan peppercorns, and we combined them with sel gris in little frosted, ribboned jars for our wedding favors last year. This morning, I realized I had run out of plain kosher salt so I used a teaspoon of the sel gris/Szechuan peppercorn mixture in these biscuits. Oh my, why hadn’t I thought of this before?
I adore a plain, hot buttered biscuit. I’d even choose a biscuit over a scone, which may be surprising, given my penchant for sweets. These biscuits are made with butter, Sea Breeze leaf lard, and buttermilk. They have an unbelievably delicate, tender crumb and a crisp, browned bottom. I ate one with butter and Secret Stash chorizo salt, and one with butter and Shuksan strawberry jam, made by our friend Phong.
The biscuit recipe is in the cookbook, paired with a mushroom thyme cream gravy. (I use that gravy for everything, and especially love it on battered, deep-fried bacon.) But I want to share this biscuit recipe with you now, because something this good should not be kept secret!
(Note that I replaced the kosher salt in the following recipe with 1 tsp. of the sel gris/Szechuan peppercorn mixture. If you want to make your own, I visually estimate a 2:1 ratio of salt to peppercorns whenever I make a batch.)
The softest, tenderest Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp butter, cold
4 tbsp lard or shortening, cold
¾ cup buttermilk
To glaze: one egg yolk beaten with 2 tbsp. whole milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and lard, and cut in with a pastry blender (or two forks) until the fat resembles coarse, pea-size clumps. Stir in the buttermilk, taking care not to over-mix.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead the dough a couple times, just until it comes together. Roll the dough out with a floured rolling pin until it reaches about 1” thick, then cut with a floured biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a lined cookie sheet, and brush the tops with an egg yolk beaten with milk.
Bake the biscuits for about 12-15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and nicely risen.
Posted: June 27th, 2009 under Uncategorized.