I’m sliding one more breakfast idea your way before Thanksgiving.
Pumpkin Buttermilk Biscuits. You know I love biscuits and scones. I’ve been dying to develop my own pumpkin version of both, but I kind of had a feeling I would nail the biscuit before the scone. Scone texture can get so tricky, especially since I like my scones “just so” and pumpkin can do all kinds of stuff to texture and density…I decided I wanted an easy win and went with the biscuit.
If you’ve checked out my Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuit post, you know I’m pretty serious about making them with all of the right ingredients. If you love a fluffy buttermilk biscuit, you must try that recipe. As an extra bonus, it doesn’t have as much fat as a lot of other biscuit recipes. When I went down the road of testing a pumpkin version, I was so excited to nail it on the first try. Yay! I’m particularly excited because I have another pumpkin recipe that I’ve been developing that’s pretty much brought me to my knees…but it’s going to be really, really good…once I get it right. I’m not sure when that’s going to happen though, with holiday baking upon us. Will you be interested in pumpkin in March? Probably not… :(
With this biscuit, I wanted to make sure I maintained all that lovely fluffiness, but in pumpkin form. I added the requisite pumpkin puree, backing down on the buttermilk so that my liquid proportion stayed in balance with the dry ingredients. I went back and forth about the pumpkin spice. I’ve made pumpkin pancakes before with no spice in them and I thought it was sacrilege, but you know, they were quite good with just the pure pumpkin flavor. But, I caved in the end and decided to add the spice.
Then, I thought it would be great to brighten the flavor with a little citrus. A little bit of orange zest goes a long way, so I zested half an orange and added it to the mix. My Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits don’t add any sweetener, but I thought this iteration could use just a touch, so I settled on maple syrup. That’s right…these unassuming Pumpkin Buttermilk Biscuits have pumpkin and pumpkin spice…but they also have orange and maple. I’d say they are a perfect idea for Thanksgiving breakfast, or if you want to add something fun to your bread basket for the big meal.
The dough came together much like the original recipe. I think it needed just a touch extra mixing and light kneading to get it to a perfectly soft dough, but that was it. (Check out these videos to see how it’s done.) A brush of buttermilk and a sprinkling of raw sugar and they were ready for the oven.
They rose beautifully and the color was gorgeous deep golden amber brown. The texture came out perfectly as well, nice and fluffy. Of course, the pumpkin spice and orange made the house smell amazing while they were baking.
The flavor was nicely spiced with the orange flavor coming through clearly. I wasn’t sure if I would love the addition of orange, but it made it a little more exciting than just a pumpkin spiced biscuit. If you don’t want the orange to interfere with your pumpkin, it’s optional, so you can leave it out. I used maple syrup in the dough to give it just a little bit of sweetness, but I didn’t want to turn it into a very sweet biscuit. That way, you can use it as a bread choice with a meal without feeling like you’re eating cake. (Not that I personally have an issue with that :)
However…once you open it up and it’s hot and steamy and you slather some butter on it? All bets are off…
I ate one half with just the butter…and the other half I drizzled with some maple syrup. Normally honey is my sweeter of choice for a biscuit, but I wanted to echo the maple that was already in the biscuit. And, oh…that was a good choice. I should have taken a shot of that…I even considered taking a a shot of a biscuit tower with maple syrup dripping gloriously down the sides…but I thought, what am I going to do with a tower of sticky biscuits? You know, someone has to eat that tower and there wasn’t a crowd of people hanging out with me while I was shooting…and Thanksgiving is just days away…so I exercised restraint.
But just look at that butter melting on that hot biscuit…you can smell the pumpkin spice and the orange wafting up from the plate. Go ahead…pour on a little maple syrup…
It’s the right thing to do :)
Pumpkin Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 Tablespoons salted or unsalted butter (cold and cut into cubes)
- 2 Tablespoons shortening I use non-hydrogenated
- zest from 1/2 an orange optional
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1/2 cup cold buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- extra buttermilk for brushing tops
- raw sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
Using a pastry blender or your finger tips, quickly cut shortening into flour mixture until combined.
After you've cut in the shortening, cut cold butter into the flour mixture until you have various sizes no larger than peas. This should also take less than a minute. You want your butter to stay cold so work quickly. If you think your butter has gotten too soft, just put the mixture into the freezer for 5 or 10 minutes before going on to the next step.
Add the orange zest to the flour mixture, tossing lightly to insure the zest has separated and is mixed throughout.
In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, buttermilk and maple syrup.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the buttermilk mixture.
Working from the outside in, bring the flour into the center with a large spoon, scooping and turning bowl until the buttermilk is incorporated into the flour. Use a light hand here. We're not vigorously stirring, but simply gently tossing the flour together with the buttermilk until it's combined.
Turn the wet sticky dough out onto a well floured surface. Keep a small pile of extra flour on hand to add to your surface or your hands as needed.
Flour your hands and bring dough together, then lightly fold it in half in a gentle kneading motion.
Do this about 10-11 times until your dough comes together and is beginning to feel smooth.
Pat dough into a rectangle or square just under an inch thick.
Using a floured knife or something long enough to make one cut across the dough, cut the dough into desired sizes. I usually make big biscuits and cut mine into 9 pieces.
Turn biscuits upside down and place onto an ungreased baking sheet, close together but not touching.
Brush tops with a little bit of buttermilk, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake until they have risen nice and tall and are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
*Baked biscuits can be stored overnight at room temperature, wrapped lightly in foil. Even though they are best the first day, they reheat nicely in a toaster oven.
*If you don't have pumpkin spice, substitute cinnamon or you can use this mixture: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or ground all spice, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I use freshly grated)
*You can completely eliminate the orange zest or reduce the amount to just a pinch for a lighter hint of orange flavor.
*If you like your biscuits crusty on all sides, place them far enough apart on the baking sheet so that they don't touch another biscuit when they bake. They may also bake in less time, so keep an eye on them.
*If you prefer cutting your biscuits into shapes, roll or pat the dough and cut with a floured cutter. Push straight down with the cutter and do not twist to release it as you may seal the edges of the dough, making it more difficult for them to rise. Re-roll the scraps and cut again. (This is not my preferred method)
Adapted from Alton Brown's Southern Biscuits
The Merchant Baker © 2015