Friends Drift Inn Farm – Recipes
Savory Bread Recipe for Supper, Breakfast or Tea Time
Charlie makes some of the best biscuits in Pike County. I have seen women swoon at his feet when they sample the buttery breakfast stars and immediately offer up marriage proposals. I have seen chefs eyes light up when biscuits and gravy arrived on our breakfast table after a long night of porch sipping. I have seen toddlers tug on Charlie’s apron strings begging for more biscuits.
Living with Charlie, I just do not need bake biscuits.
The truth is no one ever taught me how to make biscuits. I know that shocks you. I am not happy to admit it. Grandpa had mad skills as a baker, but he scooted me out the kitchen fearful I would get burned on the oven door. I do not remember momma ever making biscuits from scratch.
So in my quest to have an authentic voice of Appalachian cookery, I find myself in the kitchen preheating the oven and gathering up ingredients for biscuit scones, not something Charlie has ever tried. I do not have to measure up, just measure right.
I know the ingredients by heart. Flour, cornmeal, butter, baking powder and soda, salt, sage, sorghum and of course buttermilk. If the word biscuit it used it has to have buttermilk that is just the way it is. I do not know if that comes from biscuit baker extraordinary Nathalie Dupree, or if that is something that is just somehow genetically etched into my being. Sometimes I know what I know, but I do not know why! Giggles
Are they biscuits or are they scones?
— Joyce Friend Pinson (@friendsdriftinn) February 29, 2016
This is my blog and thus I make the rules. I say they are biscuit scones and once you try them you won’t care if I am right or wrong. You will just go find some bourbon tomato jam spread it liberally on the biscuit scones and contemplate world peace.
Go ahead and put a kettle of tea on before you start baking.
As I write this, it is not quite spring here in Appalachia. Snow is spitting down and the cold winds keep mom huddled by her fireplace. Sophie is hunkered down in the dog house with half a dozen cats.
The ‘tween seasons makes me restless. I long for killed salad with green onions. But that is weeks away. The here and now is cold and overcast. Light rabbit food can wait. Savory and hearty are still welcome words in the big red barn kitchen.
Not quite a fluffy soft biscuit, the addition of sage and cornmeal gives these morsels a rustic character. But this is not cornbread, the texture is much smoother. What does it matter? When you add a little bacon dripping to the cast iron skillet, this is one savory bread that fits into this fickle time between winter and spring just fine. Not heavy, but with substance. Not ethereally light, the sage and corn keep this recipe earthy and humble.
I thought it would be really pretty to add fresh sage leaves to the top of the bread. You know how they do in the glossy magazines that have food stylists standing around with tweezers and crumb police?
I was disappointed when the sage leaves curled up and dried out in the oven. But that is ok. I just crushed the leaves on the top of the biscuit scones and while not as dramatic a photo it is assuredly much more palatable than biting into a whole leaf of sage!
Originally, I envisioned this recipe as an accompaniment to an eggs and sausage breakfast; with the sage from the sausage magnifying the biscuit scone’s seasoning. But I have made them a couple times now, and I like them as an afternoon snack with tea. I like them for Sunday supper with roasted chicken. I would probably like them as a midnight snack, slathered in tomato jam but they never seem to last that long. When I go looking they are gone!
This recipe is a simple one, not fussy or precious. Kind of like the whisperings of Spring as she covertly makes her way into the mountains of Appalachia. Take a bite and ponder the possibilities.
Cornbread and Sage Biscuit Scones
Inspired by several sources in honor of today which is sage planting day
Bread Recipe, Scones, Savory Side, Cast Iron Cooking
- 4 – 5 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 2/3 cup white cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup of buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon sorghum (optional but magnifies the corn flavor)
- Fresh sage leaves for garnish, optional
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Add bacon drippings to cast iron skillet.
3. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
4. With a pastry cutter, work in the butter until the mixture is like coarse cornmeal. Add buttermilk and sorghum, barely mix just to moisten. Leave rest for five minutes.
5. Put skillet in the oven while the mixture rests.
6. Spread three or for tablespoons of cornmeal on parchment paper where you will be patting out dough.
7. Gently shape dough into a ball, pat out into a rectangle on parchment paper. Remove and flip, so both sides get a little bit of the cornmeal crunchies.
8. Pat into a rectangle about a half inch thick. Fold the dough over itself, two or three folds getting it back into a mass.
9. Pat it out in a circle, about ½” thick, and about 8 ½ “round. This is not rocket science, do not overwork dough.
10. Cut circle into 8 pieces. I add a sage leaf to each slice or not…LOL.
11. With a potholder to protect your hands, pull skillet from oven, place on a heatproof surface and carefully place each slice in pan.
12. Return to oven. Cook 12 -15 minutes until biscuit scones are browned.
Notes and Observations:
These scones keep well for a couple of days wrapped in aluminum foil at room temperature. I prefer cormeal sage biscuit scones hot when served with a meal, but they are just fine with tea at room temperature.
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