Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dried-Blueberry Biscuits

What's better than flaky, buttery biscuits? How about flaky, buttery biscuits studded with dried blueberries? There's a little extra sugar in these biscuits, but most of the sweetness comes from the berries.

You could use pretty much any dried fruit you like in this - cranberries, chopped apricots, cherries ... whatever you like.

There are a lot of different methods for shaping biscuits, from drop biscuits that aren't shaped at all, to gentle patting and prodding to rolling them with a rolling pin.

These use the rolling pin method. I like this method for biscuits that have large pieces of butter. Buy rolling the dough, the butter flattens out, just like in pie crust, and the folding creates flaky layers.

For a cream biscuit, I'd be much more gentle.

Dried Blueberry Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour
1 tablespoon sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1/2 stick cold butter
1/2 cup dried blueberries
3/4 cup cold milk (plus more as needed)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center of the oven.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Cut the butter into several pieces and add it to the bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives cut the butter into the flour until the largest pieces are no larger than a pea.

Add the blueberries and stir to combine, then dump in the milk. Stir just enough to moisten all the flour. If the dough is a little wet, don't worry about it. If it seems dense and dry, add a bit more liquid.

Flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Shape it into a rough rectangle. Flour the top and roll to a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Fold in thirds like a letter. Flour the work surface and dough as needed and roll again, this time to 1/2 inch thick. Fold in thirds again. This time roll to 3/4 inch thick.

Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut as many rounds from the dough as you can, cutting straight down without twisting the cutter. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.

Gather the scraps, trying not to turn any of the pieces sideways (this keeps the layers running horizontally) and flatten to the same 3/4-inch thickness. Cut as many pieces as possible again.

Gather the scraps again. Usually I make the last biscuit or two free-form. They're not as pretty, but that's fine for sampling.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with a little bit of milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425 degrees in the center of the oven until the biscuits are light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and place on a rack to cook just for a moment before serving.