Sicilian traditions are swell, and I’m usually all about keeping them alive. But there’s something about Thanksgiving that makes me want to go all-American. That’s the point, of course: it doesn’t matter where we’re from—on Thanksgiving, we’re celebrating this Great American Life.
I’m making up for it this year. Persimmon bread is already in the works. Four gooey persimmons are in the freezer, ready for Thursday morning baking. It’ll be good, but not very American per se. I want to make something more. Something as Apple Pie as apple pie. Only not apple pie. Something I’d never made before; something so quintessentially U.S.A. that they’re rarely made in our ethnic-infused metropolitan.
I have my heart set on biscuits. That’s right—what’s more American than biscuits?? Well, many things, I’m sure, but let’s focus on the biscuits. I spent this week trying to master the perfect biscuit: fluffy, flakey, buttery, so good that you don’t care if it means going up a dress size.
* It’s all about keeping the dough cold. Try cooling your fingers in ice water if you’re mixing in the butter by hand. Either way, do it quickly before your body heat melts the fat.
* Don’t overwork the dough!
* If you don’t have a biscuit cutter be sure to use something with a sharp edge. Push it straight down into the dough. Don’t twist the cutter. Twisting will seal the edges and keep them from rising. I used a mason jar lid but I’m not convinced it was sharp enough. My biscuits were pretty flat. Sad.
Given that I’m not an authority on this, I won’t even try offering a recipe. But Alton Brown and Homesick Texan have pretty fool-proof recipes. Good luck!