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Food & Drink

Carrie Morey’s Black Pepper Biscuits

November 22, 2013 6:00 AM

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(Photo credit: Atria Books)

(Photo credit: Atria Books)

Carrie Morey founded Callie’s Charleston Biscuits in 2005 with the goal of making the tender, buttery, made-by-hand biscuits of her mother accessible across the country. Touted by Saveur, Food & Wine, Southern Living, The New York Times and Oprah among others, her biscuits and pimento cheese collection are sold at high-end retail stores all over the country. Chosen as one of Martha Stewarts’s “Dreamers into Doers” in 2008, Morey also offers baking space, consulting, and mentoring to small artisan food businesses on location at her bakery. Morey has been a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship at the College of Charleston School of Business for over five years.

Once I mastered my mother’s buttermilk biscuit recipe, I was ready to experiment a little and put my own savory edge on things. You can experiment too! Start small like I did with the black pepper. Try adding one element, and go from there. Try minced fresh herbs, cooked crumbled sausage, minced country ham. Even if it’s not perfect the first time, it will certainly be tasty. And keep trying and adjusting until you get it just the way you want it.

These black pepper biscuits, published in my book through sister company Simon & Schuster “Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions: Heirloom Recipes from Our Family Kitchen”, have the same luscious texture as the original, but with a little kick to them that really excites the palate. Even though they are savory, don’t let that keep you from serving them for breakfast or with jam. That savory/sweet contrast is delightful. For cocktail parties I like to serve them as small sandwiches with a little bit of meat inside.

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(Photo credit: Angie Mosier)

(Photo credit: Angie Mosier)

Black Pepper Biscuits
Makes about 10 (2-inch) biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups self-rising flour (White Lily preferred) plus more for dusting

1½ to 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

5 tablespoons butter; 4 tablespoons cut into small cubes, at room temperature, and 1 tablespoon melted

¼ cup cream cheese, at room temperature

¾ cup whole buttermilk (may substitute low-fat buttermilk)

Topping: 1½ teaspoons kosher salt and 1½ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper, mixed

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position.

2. Measure the flour into a large bowl. Mix in the pepper to distribute evenly. Incorporate the cubed butter and then the cream cheese into the flour, using your fingers to “cut in” the butter and cheese until the mixture resembles cottage cheese. It will be chunky with some loose flour.

3. Make a well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk and, using your hands, mix the flour into the buttermilk. The dough will be wet and messy.

4. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough. Run a rubber spatula around inside of the bowl, creating a separation between the dough and the bowl. Sprinkle a bit more flour in the crease.

5. Flour a work surface or flexible baking mat very well. With force, dump the dough from the bowl onto the surface. Flour the top of the dough and the rolling pin. Roll out the dough to ½-inch thickness into a oval shape. (No kneading is necessary—the less you mess with the dough, the better.)

6. Flour a 2-inch round metal biscuit cutter or biscuit glass. Start from the edge of the rolled-out dough and cut straight through the dough with the cutter, trying to maximize the number of biscuits cut from this first roll out. Roll out the excess dough after the biscuits are cut and cut more biscuits. As long as the dough stays wet inside, you can use as much flour on the outside as you need to handle the dough. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet with sides lined with parchment paper, in a cast-iron skillet, or a baking pan with the biscuit sides touching. (It does not matter what size pan or skillet you use as long as the pan has a lip or sides and the biscuits are touching. If you are using a cast-iron skillet, no parchment paper is necessary.) Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with the topping.

7. Place the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 450 degrees F. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, until light brown on top (or as dark as you prefer), rotating the pan once while baking.

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Carrie Morey founded Callie’s Charleston Biscuits in 2005 with the goal of making the tender, buttery, made-by-hand biscuits of her mother accessible across the country. Touted by Saveur, Food & Wine, Southern Living, The New York Times and Oprah among others, her biscuits and pimento cheese collection are sold at high-end retail stores all over the country. Chosen as one of Martha Stewarts’s “Dreamers into Doers” in 2008, Morey also offers baking space, consulting, and mentoring to small artisan food businesses on location at her bakery. Morey has been a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship at the College of Charleston School of Business for over five years.

This recipe is currently published in “Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions: Heirloom Recipes from Our Family Kitchen” Copyright © 2013 by Carrie Morey. Reprinted with permission of Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. For more information on Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions or other great cookbooks from Simon and Schuster, sign up for our Read Before Eating newsletter!

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