This is one of the freshest, and strangest, biscuit recipes I have ever had the pleasure of baking. Developed by Georgian food writer Damon Lee Fowler, these biscuits rely on olive oil instead of shortening, lard or butter. (Really!) They don’t need baking soda, and the dough requires repeated folding. The result is not the tender, flaky texture of a traditional biscuit–but the smooth, silky (and healthier) biscuit you get instead is delicious and compelling.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup buttermilk (or plain yogurt thinned with a little milk)
1. Preheat the oven to 500F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, and salt. In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil with 2/3 cup of the buttermilk and stir until well blended.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the olive oil mixture, and stir until the dough clumps together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining buttermilk and stir until the dough is no longer crumbly.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, pat out 1/2 inch thick, fold in half, and pat out again. Repeat folding and patting five times or six times, then pat out 1/2 inch thick. Cut out rounds with a 2-inch biscuit cutter and arrange on a baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Gather up the scraps, fold the dough over itself three times, pat out 1/2 thick, and cut out more rounds. Bake in the center of the oven until the biscuits are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Note: I find that folding in a little extra sea salt, black pepper and some rosemary at the end makes them even better. Yum.
Adapted from Biscuit Bliss by James Villas (Harvard Common Press, 2004).