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Sweet Potato Biscuits

These tips will help you turn out great biscuits. Keeping the fats cold gives the biscuits flakiness. Handling the dough as little as possible ensures the biscuits will be tender. Some recipes call for gathering and rerolling scraps, which can lead to tough biscuits; cutting rectangular biscuits is a clever way to avoid this, as rectangles leave no scraps. Cutting the biscuits with a straight-down motion produces an even shape, and baking them at high heat results in biscuits that rise high and brown handsomely.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into
      small pieces
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into
      small pieces

For the honey butter:

  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 1/3 cup honey

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Prick the sweet potato several times with a fork. Place it directly on the oven rack and bake until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool completely.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and increase the temperature to 450°F.

Peel the sweet potato and force it through the medium disk of a food mill or a large-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add the buttermilk and whisk until smooth.

In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the shortening and butter and, using a pastry blender, cut them into the dry ingredients until the pieces of fat resemble corn kernels. Add the buttermilk mixture and stir until a soft, crumbly dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead 8 to 10 times, until it just holds together.

Roll out and pat the dough into a rectangle 6 by 12 inches. Using a knife or cookie cutter, cut the dough into 12 rectangular biscuits. Transfer the biscuits to an ungreased insulated baking sheet or doubled regular baking sheet. Bake until the biscuits have risen and their edges and bottoms are lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the honey butter: In a small bowl, stir together the butter and honey until light and fluffy. Serve the biscuits hot, accompanied with the honey butter. Makes 12 biscuits.

Make-Ahead Tip: The sweet potato can be baked 1 day ahead and kept at room temperature. The dry and wet mixtures can be prepared several hours in advance, but do not combine them until you are ready to bake. The honey butter can be prepared several days ahead and refrigerated.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Thanksgiving, by Michael McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster, 2001).