I'm no chef. I don't consider myself a pastry chef (those crazy cats know all sorts of neat things I don't!) and I did not go to culinary school. But I do love food and talking and writing about food, so of course I said yes, please! when asked if I would be featured in The Spokesman Review's column Chef Spotlight. Their regular spotlight feature also includes a recipe, so I shared one of my most requested: Apple, Cheddar & Pink Peppercorn Biscuits!
Apple, Cheddar & Pink Peppercorn Biscuits
Warm biscuits, fresh from the oven, are impossible to resist. Add to that sharp cheddar, sweet-tart apples, and floral, kicky pink peppercorn and you’ve got a winner for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces butter, thinly sliced
2-4 thinly sliced apples
4-6 ounces thinly sliced sharp cheddar
1 cup buttermilk, cold
2 ounces butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
Pre-heat the oven to 375.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt in a mixing bowl, breaking up any brown sugar chunks. Add the 8 ounces of butter and toss gently to coat. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, core and thinly slice the apples and set aside. Slice the cheddar and set aside.
Remove the chilled biscuit mix from the fridge and use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the chilled butter into thin pieces, working quickly and continually tossing with flour mixture. You’re going for thin, dime-size sheets of butter. Add the buttermilk and stir to combine.
Dump the wet dough onto a floured work surface and pat into a thick rectangle, roughly 6-by-12. Use a bench scraper to fold the dough; it might be a bit sloppy. Dust with flour and roll into a rectangle, about 10-by-18. Fold into thirds, then half. Lightly flour again and repeat two more times until dough is workable but still has visible butter pats.
The last time you roll the dough, brush along one half with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and top with all the cheddar and all but 12 of the apple slices. Grind the pink peppercorns or crush in a mortar and pestle, and sprinkle some onto the apples and cheddar. Fold the bare half of dough over this and press the edges together. Use a bench scraper or knife to cut into biscuits (6-12 biscuits, depending on what size you want).
Brush the biscuit tops with melted butter and top with additional apple slices and pink peppercorn. Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom when you use a spatula to gently lift a biscuit to check. (The moisture from the apples will create a bit of steam in the middle of the biscuit, so I like to err on the side of nicely browned and over-done rather than soggy & under-done!)