Cathead Biscuits

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2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, chilled and cubed
2 cups whole buttermilk

* Use White Lily brand where available

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees with one of the racks in the middle of the oven.

Grease a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour (both all-purpose and cake flour), kosher salt, and the baking powder. Sift in ingredients if desired.  As an experiment make two batches one sifted and the other not to determine your preference.

Take your cold butter And cut into small cubes with a sharp knife.  Take the butter between your forefinger and thumb and make a pushing motion. This makes thin sheets or ribbons of butter that will fold into the dough perfectly and then rise in the oven in beautiful layers.  Some bakers call this snapping butter.

Add the buttermilk and fold in very gently.  Do not overmix! Scoop the dough into your pan or skillet, making sure to keep the dough scoops right next to each other on the pan. A large ice cream scoop is ideal for this.

Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and fluffy.

 

 

 

Southern Pie Spice

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1/4 cup ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground dried ginger
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground dried lemon peel

Add all the spices to an airtight container and shake to combine. Store for up to a year.

 

Southern Biscuits: Soft or Crunchy?

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If a soft or crisp exterior is desired selecting the proper baking pan is paramount.  For a soft exterior, use an 8- or 9-inch pan or oven-proof skillet (preferably cast iron) where the biscuits will nestle together snugly, creating the soft exterior while baking.

For a crisp exterior, select a baking sheet where the biscuits can be placed wider apart, allowing air to circulate and creating a crisper exterior, and brush the pan with butter.

 

Simple Saltine Toffee

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An oldie but a goodie.

About 50 saltine crackers
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 12-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.

Lay the crackers out in one layer as close together as possible, filling the baking sheet.

Melt the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the butter is melted, raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, and keep at a boil for about 3 minutes, stirring. When the 3 minutes are up, give it a good stir and pour evenly over the crackers on the baking sheet.

Spread the caramel around with a spatula if needed, but don’t worry if the surface isn’t covered completely, you just don’t want it pooling in one place. Bake the crackers for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top in an even layer. Let sit for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer over the crackers.

Sprinkle the pecans and the sea salt evenly over the top of the toffee. Leave to cool, then place in the refrigerator for about an hour for the chocolate to set. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

 

 

“Edna Lewis” Inspired Profiterole Filled with Whipped Cream and Custard and Served with Hot Chocolate Sauce

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Profiterole

1 cup milk
1stick soft butter
½ tablespoon sugar
1cup sifted flour
4 eggs
⅓ cup blanched slivered almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Put the milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan and let mixture come to a boil. Add the flour bit by bit until the batter is well mixed and smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is again smooth

Using a small rounded spoon, drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, forming a 9” circular or 10” oval ring about 1” across and 1” high. (There will be enough batter left over to make 5 to 6 individual puffs.) The dough can also be piped onto the sheet with a cookie press. If you like the crunchiness of nuts, the ring can be sprinkled with slivered almonds

Place in a 425°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes. To prevent the ring from collapsing, do not open the oven door for 25 minutes.

Remove the ring from the baking sheet and place it on a wire rack to cool. A half hour before serving, cut through the profiterole with a serrated bread knife, lay the top aside, and remove any moist dough from the center.

Fill the ring with the whipped cream into which you have folded ½ cup of custard sauce. Replace the top. Serve the profiterole with rich chocolate sauce.

Whipped Cream for Filling

1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sugar to taste

Whip the cream, sweeten to taste, and flavor with vanilla extract.

Custard Sauce (Pastry Cream)

1 cup milk
⅓ cup fine granulated sugar
½ vanilla bean
2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or brandy

Scald the milk with the vanilla bean and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.

Beat the eggs and mix in cornstarch well.

Remove the vanilla bean from the hot milk mixture, and slowly pour the milk into the blended eggs and cornstarch. Mix well and place in a double boiler over water that is barely simmering or over very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring all the while. Strain the sauce and cool.

When cool, flavor with vanilla extract or brandy.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup light cream
⅔ cup extra-fine sugar
3 squares bitter chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate over hot water. Stir in the sugar. Scald the cream in a separate saucepan and stir into the chocolate-sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring often. Cook until it is smooth and thick. Remove the pan from the burner, and when the sauce has cooled, add the vanilla flavoring.

 

 

Southern Peach Pie

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  • 6 cups about 1½–2 pounds, sweet, ripe peaches, halved, pitted, sliced and chopped
  • ¼–½ cup sugar; to taste
  • A pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 double-crust pie
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1–2 teaspoons sugar, for on top of the pie
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the peaches, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, salt, flour, and quick-cooking tapioca in a big bowl. Mix lightly until the fruit is coated.

Roll out the bottom dough and place it in a pie pan.

Spoon in the fruit filling and dot with butter cut into little pieces.

Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top. Trim excess dough from the edges and crimp.

Lightly brush some of the egg white wash over the entire pie, including the edges.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When there are 10 to 15 minutes of bake time left, open the oven, pull the pie out, and quickly and evenly sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar. Close the oven and continue baking for final 10 to 15 minutes, or until you see steady bubbling in the filling coming through the vents.

Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely before serving so the filling can set up, warm peach pie is delicious too.

 

Maidstone Biscuits

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This is a very simple recipe for a crunchy almond flavored biscuit from the Middle Ages.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped, blanched almonds
1 teaspoon rosewater (or substitute) *

Cream the sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the rosewater and almonds. Fold in the flour to form a stiff dough. Form pieces of dough into balls about the size of a golf ball in your hands and flatten them onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. When baked the biscuits should be golden brown in color.

* It was traditionally flavored with rosewater, which is still available in specialty food stores. If you can’t obtain rosewater, you can use vanilla or even orange extract instead.