I’ve never broken a bone in my life. Never a fracture, never a sprain. Probably because I’m too much of a scaredy-cat to partake in the majority of activities that would result in such pain. But our friend Chris managed to break three bones in her leg while on a walk with her beloved Golden Retreiver, Beanie. She stepped in a gopher hole and was down-for-the-count. One…two…three. She said that she heard the pop before she even realized what was happening. Ugh. But she’s a trooper. One of those eternally happy people. In fact, we had her ordained for a day so she could marry us.
That’s how great she is.
Her cozy little house has too many narrow turns and nooks and crannies for her wheelchair to be a viable option, so she’s left to hop around on one foot, pushing her walker ahead of her. (Maybe it should be called a Hopper in this case?) For the time being, cooking is pretty much impossible, and since her husband finds it impossible too, we took it upon ourselves to bring her sandwich makings and a heat-and-serve dinner. A few days later we showed up on her door step with dinner ingredients and beer. We grilled lamb-kabobs and zucchini, and served them with tzatziki and an orzo salad. All around, pretty good.
But I also made strawberry shortcake for dessert. And those biscuits? Really good. Now, before I go any further, I’d like to mention that I didn’t think these were the best biscuits for strawberry shortcake, mostly because they’re much better warm than room temperature. But the next morning I put them under the broiler for a quick reheat and served them with butter and home-made plum jam. I couldn’t have been happier. They were fabulous. I want to make them again right now. And maybe tomorrow too. And maybe the next day too?
Shirley Corriher’s Touch of Grace Biscuits adapted by Rose Levy Beranbaum from the Pie and Pastry Bible
yeilds 9 2-1/2 by 2-inch high biscuits (though mine yielded 19 smaller biscuits)
The recipe recommends using a #30 (2 Tablepoon) cookie scoop, but I think that may actually be too small, as it yielded twice as many biscuits!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 3 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum organic)
- 1-1/4 liquid cups heavy cream or buttermilk (or a combo) (I used all cream)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour for coating
- 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan or an 8-inch square pyrex dish.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and set an oven rack at the middle level.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the shortening in 1-teaspoon-size pieces and, with your fingertips, work the shortening into the flour until pea-size or smaller. Mix in the cream and/or buttermilk. The mixture will be very soft, like mashed potatoes. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes; it will stiffen slightly.
Place 1 cup of all-purpose flour in a small pan. Using a #30 cookie scoop, or a large spoon, scoop out a biscuit-size lump of wet dough (a heaping spoonful) and drop it onto the flour. Sprinkle the top lightly with some of the flour, then pick up the biscuit and shape it into a round, gently shaking off any excess flour. (Hold the biscuit in your left hand, with your fingers partially closed so that thumb and index finger form the letter C; with your right hand, tamp down the top of the dough so that the biscuit is 1 inch high and 2 inches in diameter.)
As soon as it is shaped, place the biscuit in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the biscuits snugly up against each other so that the soft dough rises up instead of spreading sideways.
Brush the biscuits with the melted butter and place them in the oven. Immediately raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to 475 degrees and continue baking for 10-15 minutes, until the tops are lightly brown. Allow the biscuits to cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes before unmolding them onto a plate. Split the biscuits in half, preferably using a fork.