People travel long distances to eat Regina Charboneau’s biscuits. She built a blues club in San Francisco, called Biscuits and Blues, on their reputation. And in her hometown, Natchez, Miss., her biscuits are considered the best. She mixes traditional French culinary training with tricks passed on through generations of Southern bakers to create a layered, rich biscuit that has to be frozen to be at its flaky best. The dough will seem rough and the fat too chunky at first, but persevere. Using a tea towel as a base to move and manage the dough until it rolls out smoothly is a brilliant technique that makes the whole process easier and neater.
For the biscuits:
cups/480 grams all-purpose flour
cup/41 grams baking powder
cup/50 grams sugar
cup/120 grams (1 stick) salted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes
cups/360 grams (3 sticks) salted margarine, chilled and cut into 2-inch cubes
cups/420 milliliters buttermilk, chilled
For the marmalade butter:
cup (1 stick)/120 grams salted butter, at room temperature
tablespoons sweet orange marmalade
Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings)
548 calories; 41 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 5 grams trans fat; 15 grams monounsaturated fat; 8 grams polyunsaturated fat; 40 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 9 grams sugars; 5 grams protein; 44 milligrams cholesterol; 666 milligrams sodium
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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Make the biscuits:
- Put flour, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Turn the machine on low and blend for 15 seconds. Add the butter, margarine and buttermilk to flour mixture before turning mixer back on. Turn mixer on medium and count to 10. This goes very quickly; the key is to not overmix the dough. There will be large chunks of butter and margarine, the size of quarters, in the dough.
- Scrape dough from the bowl onto a generously floured work surface or tea towel and shape into a long vertical rectangle about 2 inches thick. The dough will seem rough and messy. Using the edges of the towel, fold the lower part of the dough (about one-third) toward the center, then fold the top portion down. With a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 2-inch thickness. Fold the two ends in again, lifting the edges of the towel to help move the dough. Give dough a one-quarter turn, and roll it out again to a 2-inch thickness. Continue folding, turning and rolling dough until it is smooth, with noticeable yellow ribbons of butter and margarine throughout.
- Roll dough to 1 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut dough into rounds. Punch cutter into dough cleanly, without twisting. When refolding and rerolling the dough, gently stack it to retain the layers. Do not overwork.
- Place biscuits on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they are frozen, transfer biscuits to plastic bags. The unbaked biscuits can be frozen for 2 months.
- To bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen biscuits in the cups of muffin tins. Let thaw in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes.
Make the marmalade butter:
- Put butter and marmalade in a mini food processor and pulse to combine. Alternatively, whisk together butter and marmalade in a bowl. (Can be made a week in advance and refrigerated.) To serve, bring to a cool room temperature and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve next to hot biscuits.
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