Homemade Biscuits with Sour Cream, Chives and Parmesan
Sunny and I woke up very early this morning to prepare a festive brunch for the whole family. We made some fresh juices, smoothies, crêpes, hashbrowns and sour cream biscuits. Making biscuits is a little messy but so worth it. Our family is very fond of buttermilk biscuits, but sour cream biscuits are even more decadent and delicious. The sour cream imparts a tangy flavor and richness that is hard to beat. We flavored the biscuits with parmesan cheese and garlic chives from the garden.
I don't know if I've mentioned it, but my Aunt Elise is visiting us from Vietnam. She's never had biscuits before, and so she looked at the little rounds of bread with curiosity. After she took her first bite, she was absolutely hooked. Biscuits truly are universal in their appeal.
Yields: 25 biscuits4 cups flour (see tips)
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons granulated garlic (garlic powder)
1 cup vegetable shortening (16 tablespoons), diced
3 tablespoons butter, cold
2 cups sour cream
3-1/2 tablespoons half and half, as needed
1/2 cup fresh garlic chives, finely snipped
6 tablespoons parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
For the dry ingredients:
Reserve about 1 tablespoon of flour for rolling the dough on the pastry board.
In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, cream of tartar and baking soda. Sift all the dry ingredients.
For the biscuit dough:
Reserve about 2 tablespoons of diced shortening.
In a bowl of a stand-mixer (or a large mixing bowl), place the dry ingredients. Grate the butter over the bowl using a cheese grater. Add the diced shortening. Mix the ingredients using the dough hook attachment of the stand-mixer (if you don't have one, the back of a fork works fine as well). Start with the lowest speed of the machine. Once all the butter pieces are coated with flour, add the sour cream, granulated garlic, 5 tablespoons of grated parmesan, white pepper and the chives. Mix until coarsely blended and still crumbly. Remove the bowl from the stand-mixer. Incorporate 2 to 2-1/2 tablespoons of half and half and the reserved shortening to the biscuit mixture. Do NOT over-mix; otherwise the biscuits will have a dense texture.
Sprinkle flour over a pastry board and transfer the biscuit dough. Using a rolling pin, even out the dough to about a 1-inch thickness. Create 23 disks using (2-5/8-inch diameter or 68 millimeters) biscuit cutters and form the last 2 disks with the remnants of dough (knead the dough as little as possible).
For the egg wash:
Using a fork, beat the egg with a tablespoon of half and half. Lightly brush the egg wash over the biscuits. Make sure to coat the entire outer surface. Sprinkle with the remaining grated parmesan.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet, previously lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Bake for 22-23 minutes.
The traditional way of making baking powder is by combining 1 part of baking soda and 1 part of cornstarch to 2 parts of cream of tartar. Corn starch is often used as a thickening agent and is not necessary in this recipe. You can always use baking powder if you don't have baking soda and cream of tartar on hand.
For the perfect texture, it's preferable to combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of cake flour but if you like, you can also use 4 cups of all-purpose flour.
To ensure that the mixture remains cold, it's preferable not to knead the dough by hand.
The biscuits have a fluffy texture, thanks to the use of vegetable shortening and a buttery flavor from the addition of real butter. My trick is to place the butter in the freezer and grate the butter using a cheese grater. No need to grate the shortening; incorporating diced shortening helps create a flakier texture and a puffier result.
For a stronger butter flavor, I used butter-flavored shortening. And for easy measurement, I used shortening sticks.
Sifting dry ingredients helps to eliminate nasty lumps of flour and aerate the mixture when liquid is added. It's an important step when baking in order to get a moist result.
We made biscuits with both (2-5/8-inch diameter or 68 millimeters) regular and fluted biscuit cutters.
I added 2 tablespoons of half and half to thin the biscuit dough because of the thickness of the sour cream. You want the biscuit dough to be wet and rather sticky.
I've never tried making biscuits with crème fraîche but I'm pretty sure they'd be as rich as the ones with sour cream.
You can skip the step with the egg wash for anyone who's allergic to eggs and brush the biscuit with only half and half or melted butter. The egg wash gives a finished golden, glazed look and shine to the biscuits. It also helps the parmesan garnish to stick to the outer surface. You can also replace the half and half with cream, milk or water.
How to make chive and sour cream dip: In a small bowl, soften 2 ounces of cream cheese with 6 tablespoons of sour cream. Thin the mixture with the juice of half a lime (without the pulp). Add about a tablespoon of finely snipped garlic chives and a teaspoon of garlic powder. Season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to a dipping bowl. Garnish with additional garlic chives. Voilà!
Published By: on November 14, 2009.