My Recipe Box

Biscuits & Beyond

Five delicious treats from one versatile dough.

by Ruth Cousineau

fromFine Cooking
Issue 124

It’s my mother-in-law’s fault that I stopped making proper piecrusts. I blame her because during the first Christmas eve I ever spent with my future husband’s family, she served her specialty, a traditional french-Canadian pork pie called tourtière. The savory spiced filling was enveloped by a buttery, meltingly tender crust, which she told me was made from biscuit dough. As the story went, many years earlier, she’d run out of time to make a pastry dough for her tourtière and had used a fast biscuit dough instead. everyone raved, so it became her standard. Now it’s mine, too.

Since then, I’ve used biscuit dough instead of pastry dough for just about everything. Not only is it buttery and flaky, as a good piecrust should be, but it takes less time to make because there’s no chilling or resting required before you bake it. And biscuit dough doesn’t shrink when baked, as pastry dough can.

Biscuit dough is endlessly versatile: I roll it very thin to make crackers, wrap it around peaches for a summertime riff on apple dumplings, fill it with cinnamon-sugar and nuts and roll it up into pinwheels, and even use it as a tender crust for a savory tomato pie. Of course, I still turn biscuit dough into biscuits, but following my mother-in-law’s lead, why stop there?

Three Steps to Perfect Buttermilk Biscuit Dough

This versatile biscuit dough comes together in minutes and can be used to make not only biscuits, but many other tasty treats as well.

Buttermilk Biscuit Dough Step 1 Buttermilk Biscuit Dough Step 2 Buttermilk Biscuit Dough Step 3
Work the butter into the dry ingredients just until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal with some pea-size lumps of butter remaining. Those lumps of cold butter will melt in the oven, releasing steam that forms air pockets and creates flaky layers in the biscuits. Stir the buttermilk into the dry ingredients just until they’re moistened and come together in a mass. Mixing too much at this point will lead to tough biscuits. Gently knead the dough by hand, using as light a touch as you can and dusting the dough with flour if it’s sticking. Knead just until it’s no longer shaggy. You should still see lumps of butter.
Recipe Ideas for Buttermilk Biscuit Dough

Photos by Scott Phillips


Cookbooks, DVDs & More