January 25, 2021
Yesterday I started working on the perfect breakfast pastry. The buttermilk biscone. A biscone is cross between a biscuit and a scone, It is light and airy like a good biscuit, yet has the crumb of a scone. Ohhh so delicious.
The only problem I had with the recipe was after I had put the dry ingredients in the bowl and cut the butter into small pieces with my knife, I realized I couldn’t find my pastry blender! For those of you who don’t know what a pastry blender is, it looks like a half whisk with a handle used for cutting the butter into the flour mixture. So I did what any self-respecting baker who had already put together so many ingredients and didn’t want to waste them would do. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work on the dough with my hands. You see the cold butter had to be broken up into various sized pieces. Some as small as peas, others the size of beans, and that can be done by hand. In fact, I would recommend it! I actuality dislike using the pastry blender; I find it awkward. Using my hands was much better for me.
Note: These lovely biscones use both all-purpose flour and cake flour (not the self rising kind). The combination is necessary to mimic a flour usually found in the south called White Lily that is often used in southern biscuits. These biscones come together quickly. There are no eggs in this recipe (I didn’t forget them!) except for the egg wash at the end that makes them shiny. If you don’t have cardamom and have no interest in buying it, then just leave it out.
Perfect for a weekend breakfast, these biscones taste the best fresh from the oven so don’t be shy once they cool a bit. I guarantee you will swoon.
Adapted from Cheryl Day and Griffith Day of The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook
For the Biscone:
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk, or more as needed
1 egg beaten, with a pinch of fine sea salt, for the egg wash
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (if you have)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and cardamom until completely combined. Add the butter. Working quickly, either cut in the butter with a pastry blender or use your hands (like me!) to squeeze and smush the butter into various sized pieces. You should have a range from sandy patches, to pea sized chunks, as well as some larger bits.
Gradually pour in the buttermilk and gently fold the ingredients until you have a soft dough and there is no flour left at the bottom of the bowl. If the dough seems dry you may need to add more buttermilk a tablespoon at a time. (I didn’t need to.) The dough should be moist and slightly sticky.
With damp hands, gently pat down the dough until it resembles loaf of bread. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart so they have room to rise and puff up. Lightly tap down the top of each biscone with the palm of your hand.
Brush the top of the biscones with the egg wash. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until they are lightly golden and fully baked. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with jam. They taste best the day you make them.