It is the Fourth of July, so I decided to do something a little patriotic. Red jam, white flour and dried blueberries seemed just the ticket for a holiday breakfast.
Karl’s Red, White and Blueberry Biscuits
2½ cups AP flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbs. Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar
6 Tbs. butter, chilled
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup milk or cream, added to the egg to make 1 cup + 2 Tbs.
½ cup dried blueberries
¼ cup strawberry jam
1. Put a stick of butter—8 tablespoons—into the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
Tip: You want the butter to be very cold, but not frozen solid.
2. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Tip: Put the oven rack at the highest level.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder and salt in a flour sifter.
Tip: Sift the dry ingredients several times to mix them thoroughly.
4. Whisk in the sugar.
Note: The strands of orange zest in my sugar get caught in my flour sifter, so I add it later.
5. Using the large side of a box grater, grate six tablespoon of the butter into the flour.
Tip: Grate half the butter and then use a spatula to dust the flour over the butter strands to prevent them from sticking together. The goal here is to get each butter strand separately coated.
Note: Chilling the whole stick gives you a bit of a handle to keep your fingers away the cutting edges of the grater.
6. Cut the butter into small pieces with a pastry cutter.
Tip: If you do not have a pastry cutter you may use a fork or two knives until it resembles crumbs. Unless you have very cold hands—like my wife—be careful not to melt the butter into the flour.
Note: I frequently set my buscuits up to this point the night before. Putting the flour mix in the refrigerator overnight completely re-chills the butter and give you a better rise, when you bake them.
7. Put the egg into a large one cup measuring cup and beat it well.
Tip: You do not want strings of egg white running through your biscuit.
8. Add enough milk/cream to make one cup of liquid plus a bit more.
Note: You will be using one cup of the egg/milk mixture to moisten the flour and the rest to brush the tops of the biscuits just before baking.
9. Add one cup of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold the dough with a spatula.
10. When there is still some dry flour showing add the blueberries.
Tip: When there is no more dry flour showing, stop and let the dough rest for 5 minutes so that the flour has a chance to absorb all of the liquid.
11. Lightly flour a bread board and knead the dough 5-7 times.
Tip: You want to knead the dough enough to form the gluten sheets, but not so much that you melt the butter. I use a spatula to mix the flour and—after a bit of kneading—I switch to using a rolling pin to work the dough, so that my warm hands do not melt the butter into the flour.
12. Roll out the dough into a thin square, about 12 inches per side.
13. Letter fold the sides of the dough square into the center and then again top to bottom.
Tip: This will produce a four inch square of dough with nine layers.
Note: When I make these biscuits without the additions of the dried fruit, I roll out and letter fold the dough a second time. This process produces 81 layers of dough.
14. Roll the dough into a ½ inch thick square.
Note: How thinly you roll out your dough depends on how tall you like your biscuits. If you prefer you may roll your dough square as thickly as 1½ inches. You will end up with fewer taller biscuits. However, these biscuits puff up nicely—my biscuits come out of the oven 1½-2 inches tall.
15. I use a 2¾ inch biscuit cutter to make 8-9 round biscuits.
Tip: Using a biscuit cutter leave me with the scraps of dough around the edges. Gather them up and role it into a sheet and cut out more rounds. You will always end up with one ugly, last-bits biscuit.
16. Put the biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush their tops with the remaining egg mixture.
17. Bake the biscuits for 16-18 minutes, until well risen and golden.
Tip: Rotate the tray half way through, to ensure that the biscuits bake evenly.
Note: Do not under bake the biscuits. If you take them out too soon the centers may come out “gummy.”
18. Spread a teaspoon of strawberry jam on each biscuit and continue baking for two more minutes.
19. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack for 1-2 minutes to cool.
Tip: Be careful not to get the hot jam on your hands as you are moving the biscuits, it will burn like napalm.
20. Serve while still warm from the oven.