Monday, March 11, 2013

Mom's Biscuits

This is post is not about Ham Radio, but about something else that I enjoy - eating good food.

Mom's Biscuits

On Saturday, Mom would have celebrated her 89 Birthday. And for that, I decided to try to make some Biscuits, the way she has done so expertly many time for our family Saturday morning breakfast (which was such a long time ago).

Mom was famous for her Biscuits and Pies. Nothing in the Cookbooks came close to; look, taste and texture of her baked goods. Her Biscuits were almost three inches tall, and very flaky, soft and crisp on the outside, she would always say: “I don’t know if they’l be fit to eat!” - but they were always, soooo . . . very-very good!

Somehow Mom’s always got the volume of dough just right, regardless how many people were eating. We would end up with just the right number of Biscuits for each person, plus one more. The last Biscuit was made from the trimmings, left over dough from the cutting process. My brother, two sisters and I, argued over who was to receive the highly prized Ugly Biscuit. For most of my childhood, Mom cut the Biscuits with a Red Handle Donut cutter (with the center hole cutter removed), later she switch and used an easy available drinking glass to make the cuts. This was way back in the good’old-days. when calories were NOT counted, . . . but Biscuits were.

I have tried several times in the past forty years to make Biscuits. The first time was while Mom was still alive, but that did not seem to help. My Biscuits always came out like the dreaded Hockey-Pucks. In fact, in my childhood family, there was a running joke; there were only two types of Biscuits; Mom’s, and Hockey-Pucks. Somewhere along the way, my sisters, seemed to have learned how to make Biscuits, but I had not.

Lately, I have been thinking about Mom’s Biscuits, I think I have always had the ingredients about right, although Mom never really followed a recipe. She would say; put in some of this and that, mix it up, knead it with your palm, pat it out flat, cut the Biscuits, and don’t play with the dough. I think her “technique and style” was more important than the ingredients. Maybe, I had just NOT learned the "technique and style" part of making Biscuits.

As stated, I have been thinking about Mom’s Biscuits, and thinking about how fast she worked at; the mixing, kneading, folding, cutting, and the fast clean up of the mess. Now, while remembering, I can still see her work at each step, and that is what I am now trying to duplicate with my new Biscuit making efforts.

Mom would have pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees F, although she would never wait for the oven to reach the set temperature. Once in the oven, a timer was NOT used, the Biscuits came out of the oven about 10 seconds before we were to set down to eat. To this day, I do not know how she timed meals so expertly.

I do not have a standard oven, for my baking efforts, I have a rotating Pizza Oven, on which I have cooked almost everything - it works better than expected for an oven. I have used it to cook some very good Brownies. My Biscuit efforts will cooked on the Pizza Oven.

Several weeks ago, I first tried the Pizza Oven for Biscuits with what I remember of Mom’s Biscuit recipe, but as usual, I got Hockey-Pucks. The puck tasted OK, but Tess (my dog) liked the pucks better than I.

Now, with my new appreciation for Mom's “Technique and Style”, I am trying again, with much better results.

I don't know if they'l be fit to eat !
Biscuits In the Oven
Mom's Biscuits were typically larger diameter (depending on the water glass she used as the cutter), for my first attempt my biscuits are smaller and leaned over as they cooked. For the next batch, I will find something larger to use for the cutter.

More Biscuits to be Saved For Later
Note: the obligatory Ugly Biscuit in the center.

There will be Biscuits left over and saved for later.

BTW. this batch of Biscuits were pretty Darn Good, but not exactly how I remembers Mom's. A little more thinking and practice is needed.

Now, the mess needed to be cleaned up, this is something Mom would have done within seconds, after the Biscuits were in the oven.
It is a Big Mess, . .  but it was worth it !

Thanks Mom, . . . for the great memories, . . . and Happy Birthday !


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