There were scattered piles of root vegetables at the farmer's market last weekend. These biscuits are made with the pulp of a pale yellow fleshed sweet potato. I've been craving them ever since I brought home a big jar of Smokey Mountain honey from North Carolina last month. I could have just enjoyed them hot from the oven with a pat of butter and a glug of that honey. But it occurred to me that these biscuits are a basic Southern breakfast tradition, especially when slathered with Country Gravy. Both are simple to make and really delicious.
Here's a mini lesson on yams and sweet potatoes. I finally figured this out and I thought you might like to know. Virtually all of the so called yams you will find in the US are actually sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes range from white or yellow, like mine, to light and dark orange. Yams are another thing altogether, not even related to sweet potatoes. They come from Africa and are generally not available here except maybe in an international market. They don't even really look like sweet potatoes, except for the shape---they're white inside! This video does a good job of explaining the confusion. Now you can impress your friends and family with the facts on the sweet potatoes you'll be serving up for the holidays.
I love the lemony color of this one, but you can use any variety you like, and it will tint your biscuit accordingly.
This is the same method I used for the Gnocchi that I made a couple of weeks ago. I love how simple it is. All you have to do is prick the potato and throw it in a 375 degree oven. In about an hour or so it will be soft and you can cut it in half and scrape out the flesh with a fork. No peeling, boiling, or pureeing necessary, and the flesh will blend right into the dough.
If you read this blog you might know that I believe in making biscuits as a main component of a meal, not a side dish or side bread. For that reason I make them large, and there's no guilt involved because they become at least half of the meal when I make soups, stews, or chilis. This means that my biscuits are moister and fluffier because I pat out the dough thickly, and make fewer biscuits per batch. These biscuits are truly luxurious.
A short stint in the freezer before baking insures that they rise up tall in the hot oven, and they get that great crack in the middle that just begs you to split them open.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
makes 7 biscuits
oven to 450
1 baked sweet potato (prick and bake at 375 for an hour or until soft when pierced with a fork)
- Cool just slightly and then cut the baked potato in half lengthwise and, scrape out the flesh by dragging a fork along the potato, so that you get a fluffy texture. Measure out 1/2 cup and set aside.
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
- Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. You can also use a pastry cutter and a wooden spoon. Pulse to combine.
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
- Add in the butter and pulse about 10-12 times to combine. Then add the sweet potato and pulse once or twice more.
- While pulsing, drizzle in the buttermilk, The dough should just come together as you finish adding the liquid.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and bring it together, kneading a couple of times.
- Pat out into a nice plump 8 inch round and cut out your biscuits with a biscuit cutter. I used a 2 3/4 in cutter for large biscuits. You will have to re-form the dough to make the last few. Try to work the dough as little as possible.
- Place on a baking sheet (I always use a silpat mat or parchment paper.) At this point I put the whole tray in the freezer, or if it won't fit, the refrigerator, for about 10-15 minutes while I clean up. This insures that they'll spring up nice and tall in the hot oven.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, until risen and pale golden.
- Cool slightly on a rack before devouring.
You could add a touch more sugar and a little cinnamon and nutmeg for a sweet biscuit. I like them as is. Load them up with butter and a big glug of local honey, or top with some country gravy. Make your own gourmet sausage McBiscuit out of them. Serve them with chicken pot pie, chili, or stew.
8 oz country style pork sausage meat (sold in a bulk package, not individual links)
- Brown the sausage in a skillet, breaking it apart as it cooks.
2 cups whole milk
fresh ground pepper
- When the sausage is completely browned, sprinkle in the flour and cook for a minute. Add in the milk, whisking as you go, and stir until thickened. Add pepper to taste and let it bubble away gently for a few minutes.
- Ladle over split biscuits and serve for breakfast with a side of eggs and sliced tomatoes
Aren't biscuits the best?