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Blue Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits

Charleston DaveCharleston Dave Posts: 571
edited 5:34AM in EggHead Forum
I recently adapted a published recipe for cornmeal thyme biscuits for use on the Egg. The original recipe was published in the San Diego Union-Tribune here, credited to A. R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines in CA.

I decided to use blue cornmeal for a more Southwestern/Latin effect, and cook on the Egg.

4-½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cornmeal, see Note
⅓ cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-½ teaspoons salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, (1 1/2 cups)
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 cups buttermilk

Yield: 3 dozen tea-size, or 20 dinner-size biscuits.

Note: In my adaptation, I used an organic blue cornmeal purchased at Whole Foods:

1. Rig Egg for indirect baking (I use platesetter legs down, then pizza plate on green feet). Preheat and stabilize to 350ºF dome.
2. Sift flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until pieces of butter are pea-sized. Add thyme and buttermilk. Mix until dough comes together. Do not overwork.
3. Roll out dough to approximately 1 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes; a biscuit/cookie cutter is better than using an inverted drinking glass. Place on parchment paper for transfer and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Turn parchment paper and biscuits halfway through baking process.

Mixing dry ingredients:

Turning out the dough:

Baking on the Egg:

Plated picture:

The biscuits cooked well on the Egg, although they did not develop as much color on the top as one expects with an American Southern-style buttermilk biscuit (maybe 370ºF next time?). The texture is also a bit different when cornmeal is used instead of just soft flour. The taste grew on me; at first they seemed too plain but then the blue corn flavor became more noticeable and I liked them. This would be a good base recipe to accompany a smoked turkey or Southwestern grilled pork. I took the final plated picture when the biscuits were eight days old; they taste best the day cooked but are quite good for 5-6 days thereafter. They'd also work well cut as smaller tea-sized biscuits (an inch or less in diameter, instead of the big dinner biscuits shown in my pictures).

I cooked half the biscuits on the Egg and half indoors in the oven. The ones on the Egg were superior in flavor but the oven biscuits developed more color (front center in plated picture is an oven biscuit, vs. the back ones cooked on the Egg).

Using the stand mixer was overkill. These would mix up easily by hand in a mixing bowl. I probably lost volume and made the biscuits tougher by using the stand mixer, but I was in a hurry. ;)

Next time I might try substituting rosemary and a pinch of cumin for the fresh thyme, to enhance the Southwestern feel.
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