|“I married her for her beaten biscuits.”|
Edna Lewis’ Best Biscuits
- Preheat the oven to 450°. In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingers, work in the lard just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk just until moistened.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Roll out or pat the dough 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out biscuits as close together as possible. Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps together, reroll and cut out the remaining biscuits; do not overwork the dough.
- Pierce the top of each biscuit 3 times with a fork and brush with the butter. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 14 minutes, or until risen and golden. Serve at once.
Make AheadThe unbaked biscuits can be frozen in a single layer, then kept frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw before baking. NotesTo make your own single-acting baking powder, combine 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. The mix will keep in a tightly sealed jar for up to 1 month.
(Courtesy Food and Wine.)
if you want love, learn how to make biscuits
edna lewis, the first lady of southern cooking died in 2006 at the age of 89 at the end of a long, industrious culinary career. She was special by any standards, but as the granddaughter of a former slave raised on the family farm in Virginia, the roadblocks to writing cookbooks were a few more then than they would be now. Combining a southern upbringing with a New York City restaurant career, she didn’t have time to write anything at all until she had to sit still after breaking her leg. If she couldn’t cook, she would then write a cookbook and write she did. Three other books followed, along with other restaurants, awards, and a strong dedication to keeping the south’s cooking tradition alive and well. (Scroll down for a video interview with Miss Lewis.)
From the NYT obituary by Eric Asimov and Kim Severson:
Ms. (Judith) Jones, who edited three books by Miss Lewis, recalled her yesterday as a lover of Jack Daniel’s, Bessie Smith and understated conversation. “She had a tremendous sense of dignity in the face of often difficult treatment,” Ms. Jones said. Her husband had died as she completed “The Taste of Country Cooking,” she said.
After that cookbook raised her profile, Miss Lewis returned to restaurants, most notably to Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn. In the mid-90s she retired from the restaurant and with some friends, she founded the Society for the Revival and Preservation of Southern Food, dedicated in part to seeing that people did not forget how to cook with lard.
|Butter? Honey? Jam? Sausage gravy? Ham?|
And, Edna, I’m sorry; I can’t make biscuits with lard or shortening; butter’s my thing. I do try to have a light hand though.
Read Edna Lewis’ obituary in the New York Times here. Video: Scroll down.
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