Way back at Easter, we had brunch with my mom, her new boyfriend (the first time we met him was at Easter – I’m sure that wasn’t nerve-wracking for him at all), sister, brother-in-law, and their baby. I braved the crowds on Good Friday at Honey-baked Ham (yes I am that insane – but hey it was for a good food cause) so that we could have ham for lunch, but not just any ham. I thought to myself what would go better with their sweet, juicy mini ham than a flaky sweet potato biscuit? I couldn’t think of anything. So I went on the hunt for a good recipe.
I knew I wanted a traditional biscuit made with buttermilk that just had the addition of sweet potatoes because I wanted them to be big, buttery and flaky. I came across this recipe from Martha Stewart and thought it looked close to what I was going for here. I doubled the recipe and substituted a portion of the butter for shortening because my pie crust and my biscuit recipes both use a combination of the two. According to Julia Child, American flour is not the right texture for straight butter, it needs a bit of shortening to help it along. I agree with her wholeheartedly.
Doubling the recipe filled a 9×13 dish with about 12 biscuits cut into rounds using a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Plus I had 1 or 2 leftover that I cooked in my mini cast iron. Also, Martha links to her sweet potato puree recipe for use to make the 3/4 cup, which calls for 3 sweet potatoes. Even with doubling the recipe, I only needed 2 large sweet potatoes to get the right amount of puree.
These turned out wonderfully. They rose in the oven quite a bit and were pretty large biscuits. I love the orange hue from the sweet potatoes and the hint of spicy sweetness from the brown sugar.
The texture was light, flaky, and buttery soft on the inside, while the outside had a nice crust from the last minute brushing of butter. These were perfect without any butter, jam or jelly. They would be perfect in the fall too when things like pumpkins, squash and sweet potatoes are in season – maybe even at Thanksgiving instead of the usual dinner rolls. Yum!!
We also served a variation on Joy the Baker’s crustless spinach mushroom quiche and roasted asparagus with homemade hollandaise. It was a great menu for Easter brunch if you are ever looking for ideas.
Here is the recipe for those flaky, buttery sweet potato biscuits:
- 1¾ cups AP flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 Tbsp light-brown sugar
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus ½ tablespoon melted butter and more for pan
- 2 Tbsp chilled shortening, such as Crisco
- ¾ cup Sweet-Potato Puree, chilled
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-sized lumps.
- In a small bowl, whisk together sweet potato puree and buttermilk; stir quickly into flour mixture until combined (do not overmix).
- Shape the biscuits: Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead very gently until dough comes together but is still slightly lumpy, five or six times. (If dough is too sticky, work in up to ¼ cup additional flour.) Shape into a disk, and pat to an even 1-inch thickness. With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits as close together as possible. Gather together scraps, and repeat to cut out more biscuits (try not to reuse scraps more than once or twice – dough can become to tough when overworked).
- Bake the biscuits: Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack on lower shelf. Butter an 8-inch pan. Arrange biscuits snugly in pan (to help them stay upright). Brush with melted butter. Bake until golden, rotating once, 20 to 24 minutes.
- Makes approximately 6 biscuits.