One morning 5 or so years ago, Improvised Life’s former assistant Sarah walked in with a surprise gift: a basket of warm cream biscuits that she’d baked herself and brought on the train from Brooklyn. We stopped everything and pulled out French butter laced with fleur de sel and slathered it on. Heaven. Then we tried the biscuits with the Grapefruit and Smoked Salt Marmalade that Sarah also thought to bring, from Brooklyn-based Anarchy in a Jar (“the revolution starts in your mouth”).
Recipe: Cream Biscuits
Adapted from James Beard’s American Cookery
Made about 10 to 12 biscuits
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in a small pot or microwave dish, and set aside.
Sift two cups flour, the baking powder, salt and (if using) sugar into a large bowl. Fold in 1 1/4 cups cream. If the dough is not soft or easily handled, fold in some of the remaining 1/4 cup cream, little by little as needed. (I ended up using two additional tablespoons, or half the unused cream.)
Turn dough onto a floured surface, mound it into a ball and, using your hands, press it to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Cut into rounds, 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Gather dough scraps and continue to make rounds. Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet and brush the top of each round with melted butter.
Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately, or flash freeze for future use.
[Biscuits can be baked straight from the freezer, and additional few minutes baking time will be needed, usually around 3 to 5.]