As our time living in America draws to a close I’ve been thinking about the way that I’ve been influenced by the food that I’ve eaten since I’ve been here. And whilst I will never understand why the cheese is bright orange and tastes quite literally of nothing there have been a fair few things that I’ve utterly fallen for and will no doubt recreate in my tiny terraced kitchen back home in Gloucestershire.
Biscuits definitely fall into this category. I’ve learned that well made ones can be a thing of beauty, and no, they aren’t just the same as scones. So I’ve decided to make myself an American-Cornish crossover by infusing some flaky, buttery biscuits with gorgeous golden saffron.
It works really well. The saffron flavour really shines through. They taste like rich buttery saffron bread (minus the fruit obviously) but with the lovely tender texture of American biscuits. Like all biscuits these are best eaten on the day that you bake them but if you don’t finish all of them (unlikely) they’re really good toasted and buttered.
makes 6 (but easily doubles)
big pinch of saffron steeped in 1 tbsp hot water
250g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
100g cold butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla paste
Steep the saffron in the hot water and set aside to cool.
Sift together the dry ingredients, into a large mixing bowl.
Cut the butter into cubes and lightly rub this into the flour mix. You don’t have to be too thorough about this, you’re trying to create thin sheets of butter rather than a breadcrumb type texture so you can leave it quite chunky.
In a separate bowl or jug mix together the buttermilk, honey, saffron water and vanilla paste. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a butter knife to bring everything together to form a soft dough. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and give it very brief knead (don’t overwork the dough). Roll the dough out so that it’s about 1 cm thick and then fold it into 4. This will create some nice flaky layers in the biscuits. Gently roll the dough again, but only until it is around 1″ thick. (Sorry for mixing my measuring systems there, it’s just how I think of it!) Cut out your biscuits, place them on a lightly greased tray, spaced a little apart and then put them in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and then bake the biscuits for 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold, clotted cream optional!