Black Pepper Biscuits (with bacon and eggs)

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Mmm, biscuits. Definitely not my area of expertise when it comes to baking. Not that I’m an expert in anything baking-related…but if I were, it definitely wouldn’t be biscuits. I think this is the second time I’ve ever made them. Not like cookies, which I’ve made dozens and dozens of when it’s not even Christmas time. For sure not like banana bread, a loaf of which was practically always camped out on the kitchen counter, because somebody (*cough*little sister*cough*) couldn’t keep up with her banana eating. And certainly not like cake, which I make every time someone I know has a birthday. Including myself, to the dismay of my poor grandmother.

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But the thing about biscuits is you can make a meal out of them and feel less bad about it than making a meal out of cookies or banana bread or cake. Which I absolutely encourage on occasion, but sometimes, you just need some protein with your butter and flour. Usually on weekend mornings. These biscuits are the perfect thing to make on a lazy Sunday. They don’t take much time at all – less than half an hour total. You can fry up the bacon and eggs while they’re baking. Then slice them up, add more butter if you’re a total sucker for butter like I am, and enjoy this wonderful grease-fest of a breakfast. And then take a walk. Or a nap. They both work wonders.

 

Black Pepper Biscuits

Adapted a teeny bit from Honey & Jam

Makes 12

 

3 cups all-purpose flour (she recommends White Lily…I used generic brand)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 (1 stick) cup cold salted butter

1 1/4 cup cold buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. You can also bake these in a cast iron skillet if you have one – which is probably much preferred to a baking sheet.

Grate the butter into a small bowl on the large-holed side of a cheese grater. Put it in the freezer. (I can’t believe I’ve never thought to grate butter for scones or pie dough before…it really does work well.)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the butter to the flour mixture and cut it in with a fork. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Knead the dough 5-7 times in the bowl, and then turn it out onto a floured surface. Pat the dough down until it’s 1/4 inch thick. Fold it over and pat it down again. Fold the dough over a second time, and then cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter or floured glass, or rectangles with a bench scraper or sharp knife.

Place the biscuits on the baking sheet or in the cast iron skillet. Top with more freshly ground black pepper. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

If you’re not going to use all the biscuits at once, freeze the dough in individual already-cut biscuits before baking. Bake them directly from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time.

 

For each person you’re serving:

2 slices thick cut bacon (I used pepper bacon, because I’m a pepper fiend)

1 egg

 

While the biscuits are in the oven, fry your bacon to desired doneness. Transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain most of the grease, and then fry your egg in the bacon fat. Seriously. Do it. It’s the weekend.

Cut a biscuit in half and top with bacon, egg, salt and pepper, hot sauce if you want. Maybe some green onion or parsley. Anything goes.


Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

ImageI’m definitely not one of the neatest people in the world. I don’t always do my dishes right away (and by ‘not always’ I mean ‘basically never’). My bedroom floor is a mess of books and socks and shoes. My purse is a mess of hair ties and receipts. And don’t even get me started on my laundry situation…who needs to fold clean clothes when you can just keep them in the hamper until they’re all dirty again?

So the first time I saw a picture of a galette, I was pretty excited. It’s just like a pie, but a little messy! You don’t have to worry about rolling the dough out to fit the pie pan, or rolling the top crust to the perfect size to fit the bottom crust. No need to secure the two crusts together and make it all fluted and pretty around the edges. All you have to do is roll out the dough to a mostly-circular shape, put the fruit on top, and fold over the edge. It’s as pretty as pie in a messy kind of way and tastes just the same. Perfect for those of us who can’t be bothered with too much neatness.

A galette begins just like a pie does, with a nice buttery crust. We roll it out and drape it over a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

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Then the fruit! I’ve never made anything with rhubarb before. I think it’s one of those things that you don’t like as a kid and then you forget about it until you see it at the store years later and think, “Huh. That looks good.” So I decided to give it a try. (Good decision, obviously).

ImageThen we’ll fold over the edges, try and make the cuff a little neat-looking, brush it with an egg, and put some butter on top. Yep. That’s butter. Mmmm, butter.

ImageThen when it comes out of the oven, serve it with a little whipped cream and revel in your delicious mess of a pie.

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This galette is perfect for spring. It’s mostly sweet, with a little tartness from the rhubarb. Some slightly sweetened whipped cream gives it the perfect finishing touch.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

From Food and Wine

Serves 6-8

 

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

5 tablespoons ice water

 

Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl and blend with a fork. Scatter the butter on top. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or your hands until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle the water on top and toss with the fork.

Use your hands to press the mixture into a dough. Pat the dough into a 6-inch disk. Wrap it in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

 

For the filling:

1 pint strawberries, thickly sliced

1 pound fresh rhubarb, cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whole milk, or 1 beaten egg

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

 

While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. On a clean floured surface, roll the dough into a 16-inch round 1/8 inch thick. Work quickly to keep the butter cold. I also found that I needed to use a little more flour than I normally do for dough, so don’t be afraid to overdo it. Transfer the rolled-out dough to the baking sheet and chill 10 minutes.

Toss the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and vanilla in a large bowl. Spread the fruit over the pastry to within 2 inches of the edge. Fold the outer edge of the dough over the filling, pleating it every 2 inches or so. Brush the dough with milk or egg. Sprinkle some extra sugar on the dough if you want. Dot the filling with the 4 tablespoons butter.

Bake the galette for one hour in the center of the oven, or until the fruit is bubbling and the dough golden brown. Let cool slightly before cutting.

 

For the whipped cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla on high until soft peaks form or until your desired consistency.

Serve aside the galette.