The Weston A. Price Way

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Biscuits: Eastern Shore, Chincoteague Isle, 'Steamer's' Style

And to add to the rather long title..."With a Weston A. Price Flair"

Remember from THE LAST POST WHICH YOU REALLY SHOULD READ FIRST, these biscuits have very little rise to them. It’s Eastern Shore tradition and we are dealing with traditional foods, right? The only variations I am interested in trying are to add some chopped (soaked, of course), pecans to the recipe…Or have finely chopped pecans, mixed with a tad of cinnamon and ginger, to sprinkle on top towards the end of the baking time.

Before I begin, a word about baking. READ THIS or you may find you’ve wasted a lot of time and ingredients in the end!
As I have said twice now, these biscuits are not like regular biscuits…they have very little rise. If you try to fudge by creating a thicker biscuit, you may well find yourself with a burning problem. Sweet Potato biscuits are very, very moist. If you pat or roll them out too thickly, the inside will not cook through.  In attempting to cook them through, the bottoms will burn. If you just can’t stand the idea of sweet potato biscuits not rising, please find a different recipe. Understand that I urge you strongly in this because of my own past failures. The only adjustment to this, which I have used with success, is to watch them very closely and when the bottoms begin to brown, turn every biscuit over. They will look a little different in the end, but the taste is not comprised, the biscuits get done through, and I coat them all with butter as soon as they’re out of the oven anyway, so the difference in their looks isn’t that noticeable.

A word about mixing: If you know about biscuit making, you understand that less dough handling is better. This dough is sticky, really sticky. Be patient, add extra mix sparingly and slowly and just enough to make the dough manageable for the very small amount of kneading you will do. Also, be sure your counter top/rolling cloth is floured, but not too heavily. I would rather add more as needed, even beneath the dough, as I go. (I use my baking mix as my ‘flour’.)

A word about cutting: I use my smallest biscuit cutter. It’s about an inch in diameter. Dip the cutter in baking mix before cutting so it will release the biscuit more easily onto your lightly greased baking sheet, maybe a ¼” apart. Do not twist the cutter, but instead, use a straight up and down motion. This will allow for a tad more rise. When cutting is complete, there is leftover dough. Gently pull it together, pat it back down with as little handling as possible, and cut again. When making large batches like this, you may choose to use only the half the dough from the bowl at once. Repeat cutting and placing biscuits until finished. (Sometimes, I’ll have a tiny bit left at the end which I hand-form into a ‘baby biscuit’ for a lucky grandchild.)
Last word: Use Organic wherever possible.

Okay…I think we’re ready now…

Steamer’s Style, WAPF-Friendly Sweet Potato Biscuits

3 Cups Sweet Potatoes. Mashed, or better, pureed. (Many folks are put off by the ‘little strings’ that accompany marginally mashed sweet potatoes.)

 ¼ Coconut Sugar, or Rapidura, or Raw Sugar –I have listed these in order of my preference. Raw sugar slides  in just barely above white sugar, where processing is concerned. It's a good start for beginners but you'll want to 'graduate' to less processed over time. I highly recommend coconut sugar, which can be found in most health food stores, online, and more recently, even in some mainstream grocers. It has no coconut flavor (it comes from the nectar of the coconut flour, not the coconut itself), a low glycemic index (recommended for diabetics), and can be used measure for measure in place of sugar. Rapidura has a heavier flavor and can be difficult to find but is highly recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

¼ C. Brown/Muscovado Sugar Muscovado can be found at Fresh Market and some other higher-end markets. It is expensive, but mineral-rich. I always have this on hand to make Thia’s Tibicos. You could also use Rapidura, found online and in some health food stores.
¼ C. ‘Raw’ Honey -I made a wonderful discovery at our latest WAPF meeting, when the president of the local beekeeping organization was the guest speaker. Most honey from small, local beekeepers is raw! And we all know that buying local, especially local honey, is good, good, good!
1 & ½  Sticks (3/4 Cup) Butter, melted. If you can get your hands on GRASS-FED, all the better!
3 Good Pinches Sea Salt - I use Celtic, but that’s not extremely important. Just stay away from nutrient depraved processed salt.
1-½ tsp. baking powder-If I have homemade on hand, I use it, but this time, I didn’t. I used Rumford because it is aluminum-free.
5 Cups Homemade Baking MixWill need more on hand for limited kneading and then, for cutting.

Preheat Oven to 450. Lightly Grease baking sheet(s). (I use the pump-up spray bottle sold by Pampered Chef and add my own olive oil.)

~Mix all EXCEPT Baking mix together.
~Add enough Baking Mix to handle dough-Will be quite sticky. Remember, the less handled, the better. You may want to refer to tips above this recipe. (For quick drop-biscuits, use less biscuit mix. However, I don’t really recommend making drop biscuits for this recipe as the biscuits are inherently flatter than typical white biscuits anyway.)
~Pour sticky dough onto floured surface. If it needs to have more mix added for sake of handling, do so now. Once it’s at a point where it can be handled, knead about 5 times, no more. (If it’s sticking to your hands, try wetting them a tad with cold water rather than adding more and more mix.)
~Pat dough to a max of ½”.
~Cut biscuits according to directions given before this recipe.
~Place on baking sheet about ¼ in. apart.
~Bake 16 minutes. **Keep a keen eye on them to prevent bottom-burn! Some say when you start to smell them, it’s time to take them out-or even 'too late'!…If I start to smell mine, I know it’s time to at least check them.** For tips about not burning, see above this recipe.
~Remove from oven and place immediately on cooling rack.(You will want paper towels or a paper bag beneath the cooling rack for the next step.)
~ Brush tops with butter. You may use melted butter and a brush, or simply unwrap part of a butter stick, hold the wrapped end, and rub gently over biscuit tops.
~ Wait until completely cool before storing. If you need room on cooling rack for additional batches as they come out of the oven, transfer the semi-cooled biscuits to a wax-paper lined counter-top.
~Store in air-tight container. Some think they’re actually better in a few days. I know if you can manage to keep them, they keep well for a week. I’m told they may be frozen, but have never made it that far. I would be a little concerned about whether or not they would dry out. If you have input on this, I’d be happy to hear it!
Hope you enjoy as much as my family has!

Traditional Tuesdays/Cooking Traditional Foods

No comments:

Post a Comment