Buttermilk biscuits are a great American Southern favourite – this is from the Lee Brothers Cookbook. This recipe uses American cup measures.
Makes about sixteen 2-inch biscuits
2¼ cups sifted cake flour or 2 cups sifted bleached all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface and hands
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
2 tablespoons cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into several pieces
¾ cup cold buttermilk
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly with a fork. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Add the butter and lard and pulse the mixture in 2-second increments until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces, about 5 pulses. (If you don’t have a food processor, cut the fats into the dry ingredients in a bowl by mashing with a fork, a whisk, or a pastry blender; it will take about 3 minutes.)
3. Transfer the mixture back to the bowl, pour the buttermilk over it, and mix with the fork for about 1 minute, until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, knead with floured fingers once or twice, and pat it into a rectangle about 6 x 10 inches and 1 inch thick.
4. Fold the rightmost third of the rectangle over the centre third and fold the left third on top. Turn the dough a quarter turn, pat it into a 6-x-10-inch rectangle, and fold it upon itself in thirds again. Repeat one more time, then pat the dough into a 6-x-10-inch rectangle about 1 inch thick.
5. Using a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter (or an upside-down shot glass), cut the biscuits from the dough and place them about 1½ inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops just begin to brown.
6. Serve the biscuits warm with eggs and bacon and a sliver of country ham.