My roots are deeply southern — Texas and Georgia specifically. And these southern style pumpkin biscuits are a tribute to my heritage!
My mother and her family came from a small town in south Georgia and I spent more than half my life in Texas. Biscuits were a family tradition in our house from early on. My mom had her own method of making them with just a few simple ingredients. She never used a recipe, just mixed it all up until the consistency was right.
She would almost always make them for the holidays though my brothers and I would beg her to make them for us at other times as well. There was nothing better!! And she’d always make enough so there were leftovers to eat with breakfast the next day. They were definitely a special treat!!
The basics of a biscuit recipe
Biscuits are simply flour, fat, liquid and a leavening agent. Recipes typically include variations in the type of leavening agent used, liquid and fat.
My mom’s recipe was simply self-rising flour, vegetable shortening and milk. My recipe here is a little different using butter and regular flour.
As a starting point, I adapted a basic NY Times recipe, making some adjustments and adding in my own ingredient, pumpkin.
The pumpkin in this recipe adds a nice yellow orange color to the biscuits and complements the light sweetness of this southern style pumpkin biscuit recipe. Serve it up with the rosemary butter and wow, it’ s seriously delicious!
I live in Peru where the round, orange pumpkins I know from home aren’t available for very long. They appear for a few weeks around Halloween, and as soon as they show up, I grab enough to roast and freeze to get me through the holidays. Since canned pumpkin doesn’t exist here either, I need to plan ahead for Thanksgiving so I can make pumpkin pie.
I snatched up two smallish pumpkins last week, and planned all the various dishes I wanted to create with this veggie. Today, I’m starting with southern style pumpkin biscuits.
Making your own pumpkin Puree
Roasting pumpkins is super easy. You can even roast it whole, but I find cutting it in half reduces the cooking time. Plus, my oven is very small and won’t easily accommodate a whole pumpkin. Poke some holes in it using a knife or fork to allow the steam to escape. It takes about 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkin) to cook.
Check for doneness with a fork and when it easily pierces the skin and flesh, it’s ready. Allow it to cool before handling it further. Once the pumpkin is cool, the pulp will easily scoop out with a spoon. I begin by gently scraping the strings and seeds from the inner layer of flesh and set it aside. Then I scoop out the pulp for cooking and place in a container for further use. To make the puree, simply put the pulp into a blender or food processor and blend until it’s smooth.
Don’t throw away the seeds! Separate out the seeds and rinse well. Allow them to dry out overnight on a paper towel. In the morning, toss with some salt and olive oil, then roast in a 400 degree oven until lightly brown, about 10 minutes.
Place pumpkin on lightly sprayed baking sheet. Whole or cut in half.
Prick the skin with a fork or knife in several spots on the outside of the pumpkin.
Tips I learned along the way
Shortcuts are the best!
The worst part of making biscuits in my opinion, is cutting the butter into the flour. It takes longer than you think and when you think it’s ready, it likely needs more cutting. When it’s finished you should have pea sized pieces of dough and butter in your bowl. Two options to save a bit of time is to either use a food processor or grate your butter.
Cold ingredients are key!
You want your butter, milk and pumpkin cold. The key to creating the flaky texture of biscuits is to make sure the fat is suspended in the flour so that as it cooks, the butter melts and forms pockets in your biscuits or the flaky part!! If any of your products are warm, this process is interrupted, and your biscuits may lose a little texture.
A hot oven is best!
If your biscuits aren’t rising, it’s likely because your oven wasn’t hot enough at the start of cooking. A hot oven activates the chemical reaction that makes your biscuits rise.
Let the dough rest.
Ok I admit that I wasn’t sure about this step. It seems like a waste of time but the texture of your pumpkin biscuits may benefit a little from this rest. The resting time allows the gluten to relax and form the structure desired in good breads.
Honestly, Im not really sold on this step, so if you’re tight on time, simply make those biscuits right away.
Southern Style Pumpkin Biscuits with Rosemary Butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cut into slices
- 1/4 cup almond milk chilled
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree chilled
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1 T fresh rosemary minced
- maple syrup or honey optional
- turbinado sugar optional
- Set out ½ cup butter for rosemary butter on the counter to allow it to soften.
- Sift the dry ingredients including the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Add butter to the bowl and use a fork or knife to cut up the butter to combine with flour. You are done cutting the butter into the flour when you have a crumbly mixture and pieces of butter are about the size of a pea.
- Add milk and pumpkin and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough should be firm but slightly sticky.
- Flour your baking mat or work surface well. Then transfer dough from the bowl to the floured surface. Sprinkle top of dough with more flour. Flatten the dough into the shape of a rectangle using floured hands, then use a rolling pin to roll it out until it is about 1”thick. Fold the dough in half and roll out again. Repeat the folding and rolling one last time. Leave the dough on the surface, cover with a towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Use a floured glass or biscuit cutter to cut the dough pressing down firmly and without using a twisting motion.
- Transfer your biscuits to a baking tray placing them close together on the tray.
- If desired, sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top of biscuits.
- Place in the oven and bake until lightly golden, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- While biscuits are cooking, mix together the softened butter with fresh rosemary. When mixed, transfer to serving dish and place into refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Serve up rosemary butter with hot biscuits and drizzle with maple syrup if desired.
3 inch biscuit cutter will likely make around 12 biscuits
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Did you try out this recipe for Southern Style Pumpkin Biscuits? If so please leave me a comment here on the blog!! And, if you take pictures be sure to tag @cookeatlivelove so I can see your results!
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