May 052013
 
Pumpkin biscuits!

Pumpkin biscuits!

Last month, my favorite Adventure Buddy Heather (of Cheeseburger in Glacial Ice) came to visit. As tends to happen when we get together, all sorts of ridiculously awesome food flows forth. I mean, you should see the food we eat when we’re backpacking together — ptarmigan breasts with quinoa, beef burgundy, pumpkin pie, all from scratch, natch, and either made entirely at home or foraged for in the field — so it’s no surprise when we go overboard with the fancy-pants cooking when we’re together in the midst of civilization. We always seem to re-discover that food doesn’t need to be fussy to be amazing (backpacking ‘sketti is one proof of this) and these biscuits are truly an example of that. I asked her to guest-post over here to write up those eminently awesome creations that she whipped up, so without further ado, I give you Heather!

Pumpkin biscuits drizzled with fireweed honey

Pumpkin biscuits drizzled with fireweed honey

A few months ago I was driving around with the radio tuned to NPR when they began interviewing Nathalie Dupree about her new book, Southern Biscuits. I was enthralled by this interview – so much so that when I got to where I was going, I sat in the car listening until it was over. Later, I informed The Husband that we live in the South now (temporarily, please), and therefore I needed to learn how to make biscuits and HINT HINT this book would be an awesome way to do that HINT HINT. Well, one of those hints made it through his usual masculine oblivousness (probably the one where I said “Honey, get this for me as a present”) and on my birthday I unwrapped this cookbook.

I was fairly busy at the time and didn’t get a chance to crack it open, but a few weeks down the road I was packing to visit Stacey and I figured I’d throw it in. As you can imagine, when Stacey and I are in the same place, somehow all sorts of delicious food magically appears. Well, as it happened, we ran into a little problem right off the bat. See, it’s easy enough to swap out the butter for lard, but the recipes kept calling for milk. Or yogurt. Or cream. Or soda, but Stacey wasn’t too keen on that even if it was dairy-free.

Then, on page 120, we found it: Pumpkin Biscuits.

Self-rising flour. Lard. Pumpkin puree. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Completely dairy-free. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

These biscuits were absolutely delicious. Soft and chewy, just a hint of spices. Drizzle a bit of fireweed honey atop, or perhaps a slice of sharp cheddar if you don’t need to go the dairy-free route, and you’re in heaven. They are equally good the next morning, toasted in bacon fat with a poached egg atop. What are you waiting for?

Left-over pumpkin biscuits toasted in bacon fat and topped with poached eggs

Left-over pumpkin biscuits toasted in bacon fat and topped with poached eggs

Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Biscuits
From Southern Biscuits by Nathalee Dupree
Makes about 8 biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour (or 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon baking powder), with extra for shaping
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/3 cup chilled lard or butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup pumpkin puree or mashed sweet potatoes
Preheat oven to 450 and grease an 8 or 9 inch cake pan.
Mix the flour and spices together. Scatter lard over the flour and work it in either with a pastry knife or two forks until it looks like crumbled feta. Chill for 5 minutes.
Stir the pumpkin in quickly just until combined. The dough should be sticky and just starting to pull away from the sides.
Flour your counter-top and turn the dough out. Gently fold the dough in half and pat into a round about 1/2″ thick. Flouring as needed, fold and pat out two more times.
Using a biscuit cutter or any circular object of the correct size (we used a drinking glass), cut out your biscuits, beginning at the outside. Press down firmly, but do not twist! Nestle biscuits together in the pan and bake on the top rack for 6 minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 6-8 minutes. Serve hot!

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