photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

These are the most agreeable biscuits you can make. The dough is dreamy, with little of the peevishness of most homemade biscuits. Unlike white biscuits, sweet potato biscuits actually taste best when made a day or two ahead, which means you can make a batch and enjoy them at your leisure.

The only thing that can make these tender, russet-hued biscuits any better is to fill them with North Carolina country ham. We Tar Heels live in one of the sweet spots of country ham production in the South, so it’s easy to find if you know where to look. Country ham’s salty twang pairs perfectly with these slightly sweet biscuits.


Yield: 15 (2½-inch) biscuits.

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup baked sweet potato purée
1 cup heavy cream
Additional all-purpose flour, for rolling
Country ham, sliced paper-thin

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and mace in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingertips to work in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly.

Stir together the sweet potato purée and cream in a small bowl. Pour into the flour mixture and stir only until the dough comes together and pulls in all of the dry ingredients.

Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth and supple, about 8 turns. Roll or pat the dough to a ¾-inch thickness. Stamp out the biscuits with a round cutter. If the dough sticks, dip the cutter into some flour. Push the cutter straight down without twisting so that the biscuits can rise to their full potential. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet. Gather, roll, and cut the dough scraps.

Bake until the biscuits are firm and spring back when lightly touched on top, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Store at room temperature in an airtight container overnight before serving. (These biscuits are not great served warm.)

Serve with room-temperature, paper-thin slices of country ham.


This recipe originally appeared as part of the 12 Recipes Every North Carolinian Should Know in April 2016. 

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Sheri Castle hails from Watauga County, but came down off the mountain to go to Carolina and now lives in Fearrington Village. She is a writer, recipe developer, cooking teacher, and popular public speaker. She is fueled by mountains, excellent bourbon, farmers’ markets, and searching for the right word. Sheri believes that stories happen only to those who can tell them. Check her out at shericastle.com.

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