Biscuits and Ham with Chive Crème Fraiche
Biscuits and ham are typically served with one or more condiments, such as sweet-hot mustard or honey butter. Here, however, we serve them with an herbed crème fraîche to elevate this southern classic, making them perfect for a festive brunch. Assemble the biscuits yourself, or simply arrange the ham, biscuits and crème fraîche on a buffet table and let guests assemble their own little sandwiches.
For the biscuits:
- 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) (3 oz./90 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./185 ml) whole milk
- 1 egg white
- 12 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, thyme sprigs or sage leaves, or a combination
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) crème fraîche
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sour cream
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) fully cooked country ham, sliced
Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the biscuits, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs about the size of a pea. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk. Using a wooden spoon, stir just until the mixture comes together into a shaggy dough.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and, using floured hands, knead once or twice to bring the dough together. Fold the dough in half twice, then pat out to about 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick. Using a 2-inch (5-cm) round plain or fluted biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, making sure not to twist the cutter but instead pressing straight down and lifting straight up. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Gather up the dough scraps, pat out again and cut out more biscuits.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and 2 tsp. water. Working with one biscuit at a time, brush each biscuit with the egg wash, top with one of the herb leaves and brush with the egg wash again to adhere the leaf to the biscuit. Sprinkle each biscuit lightly with flaky sea salt.
Bake the biscuits until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet about halfway through the cooking time. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to let the biscuits cool slightly.
While the biscuits are cooling, in a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche and sour cream until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chives and season with kosher salt and pepper.
To assemble, pull the biscuits in half horizontally. Spread the bottom half with some of the chive crème fraîche and top with 1 or 2 pieces of the ham. Top with the top half of the biscuits and serve immediately. Makes 12 biscuits; serves 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen