I have loved and learned from Nathalie Dupree for over 30 years. She is the Grande Dame of Southern Cooking and quite literally a Grand Dame in the organization Les Dames de Escoffier. . Fortunately she holds court in my new home town, Charleston, South Carolina and I am lucky to be in her presence more often now. I lived in Beaufort and Atlanta in the ’80’s and that is when she first came on my culinary radar. She continues to prolifically produce work on truly great southern cooking, but it is not the southern cooking your mind conjures up when you hear the term. She is classically trained and most of her early work was more in the “gourmet” realm, though using mostly southern ingredients. She has inspired cooks young and old to do what they do better. She has given us a vast work, including her most recently released tome of great proportion, Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, collaborating with Cynthia Graubart. Their book Southern Biscuits is full of perfect recipes and techniques for making biscuits. Believe it or not, there are several different kinds of biscuits! When my step son was visiting last week he saw the book on my cookbook stand and asked, “There is a whole book just on making biscuits?” Yes, Kevin there is. One of my favorite recipes from the book is extremely simple and successful for almost any cook. The one thing you must remember when making biscuits is, “BE GENTLE.” Overworking this tender dough makes tough biscuits. Keeping that in mind, when you use a food processor, just just the minimum amount of maneuvering the pulse button is your friend. You barely want to mix this recipe, using the buttermilk as the glue that holds the flour together. It is simply the easiest recipe for making biscuits as long as you are gentle, they will be light and fluffy and melt in your mouth.
The three simple ingredients are Buttermilk, Self Rising Southern Flour and Butter (or shortening/lard) It is that uncomplicated.
*Note: If you do not live in the South, or in Wegman’s territory up North, you may have a difficult time sourcing southern flour (made from Winter Wheat), though you can find White Lily on Amazon. Other brands of Southern Flour are : Red Band, Martha White or Southern Biscuit Flour. Nathalie suggests using a mix of cake flour and all purpose flour to make a flour that is more like Southern Flour. Keep in mind it is the protein in the flour that makes a crispy chewy crust, not what you want with a biscuit. Start with 1/2 all purpose flour to 1/2 cake flour.
- 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (I keep mine in the freezer so it is nice and cold), divided
- 1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter (or any combination of butter, shortening or lard) cut into 1/4″ dice
- 1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter (or any combination of butter, shortening or lard) cut into 1/2″ dice
- 1 cup of buttermilk divided
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. I bake in a convection oven on the convection bake selection.
Select your pan; for softer biscuits place in a greased 8-9″ cake pan or skillet. For crispy exterior, place on a greased baking sheet about 2″ apart.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 2 1/4 cups of flour with the knife blade 4-5 times. Set aside the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.
- Scatter the chilled butter pieces around the bowl of the processor.
- Pulse 2-3 times quickly, no piece should be larger than a pea
- Add 3/4 cup of buttermilk, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup
- Pulse briefly to incorporate the liquid, resulting in a shaggy dough, then remove the lid and feel the dough, it needs to be wet but not sticky. If needed add more flour or buttermilk to achieve this result, but do not over process.
- Pour the dough out onto a chilled floured surface and allow to rest for a minute
- Gently flour the dough and roll into a ball with floured hands, then, roll over again into a disc. GENTLY
- Using a rolling pin flatten the disc to about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick
- Using a floured cutter or glass, cut into biscuits
- You can roll out the scraps for a final biscuit, but I usually toss because this one will be tougher
- Place in your baking pan
- Bake for 6 minutes on the middle shelf, then turn the pan so that it is evenly browning. If the bottom looks like it is browning too fast, you can add a baking sheet under it
- Bake for another 4-6 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits are a light golden color
- Remove from the oven and brush a little softened butter on them.
Enjoy with honey, butter, jam or gravy!