Buttermilk Biscuits with Berry Compote

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Blackberries and blueberries are two of my favorite berries to incorporate into my cooking – blackberries in particular because they can be harvested just steps away from our front door.

We love to walk the dogs in the field just behind our house, and in the summer, along the path we take, are rows of blackberry bushes.  Usually around July, those berries transform from red to black, and it’s time to harvest.  My dogs love the berries, too.  They will saunter up to the bushes and just pluck them right from the grasping tendrils after they have shed their red hue.

I’m always sure to get plenty of the berries for myself before the dogs devour them all.  In the spring, I begin plotting all the delicious recipes I want to create with them, and I always bake at least one blueberry-blackberry pie.  And most importantly, I freeze an ample amount of the spoils of our walk so that I can enjoy them all year round.

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Biscuits are, hands down, my favorite bread to make.  Sure, I love a good spiced pumpkin bread or hearty muffin, but biscuits offer a familiar, hearty, iconic taste that can’t be imitated.  When I bite into a hot, buttery biscuit, I think of home and my Mom.  I think of my grandmother kneading biscuit dough as sausage crackled in her blackened skillet.  I think of laughter and honey drizzled into every crevice.  I feel distinctly Southern when I eat biscuits and when I bake them.

I’ve been working on creating a biscuit recipe for years.  Adding cheese or fruit.  Playing with the ingredient temperatures.  I wanted to create a biscuit that I could be as proud of as my grandmother was of hers.  She beamed with pride as she presented us with her biscuits, and don’t you dare say that you knew someone that made a better biscuit that hers!  Them’s fightin’ words.

These biscuits are those biscuits for me.  While I enjoy making biscuits with fruit notes or with a cheddar cheese crust on top, nothing beats a plain, buttermilk biscuit.  It’s warm, filling, and highly versatile.  And when you combine these biscuits with the sweet and tangy flavor of my berry compote – well, perfection just doesn’t seem to fully describe what I’m working to convey.  Let’s just say it’s heavenly.

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Buttermilk Biscuits with Berry Compote
Makes 12 large biscuits and accompanying compote

Ingredients

Buttermilk biscuits

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 tablespoons sweet cream, unsalted butter
  • 2 cups whole buttermilk

Berry compote

  • 1 pint organic blackberries
  • 1 pint organic blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Method

  1. Before beginning, prep your butter.  Cut the butter into small pieces and place it in the freezer.  Do not allow it to freeze.  It should simply be very cold.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Using your standing mixer and paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Blend well.
  4. Remove butter from freezer and place in mixer bowl.  On a low setting, cut butter into dry mixer.  When ready, the butter will appear in small ball-like crumbs in the dry ingredients.
  5. Add buttermilk.  Blend until just combined.
  6. Remove dough from mixer bowl and place on a moderately floured work surface.  Knead dough approximately four to five times until all ingredients are well combined, and the dough is together.
  7. Work dough into a large circle with thickness of just over an inch.
  8. Using a 3 inch baking cutter and a circular motion, cut out the biscuits.  Place each dough round on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Bring access dough back together and reshape to create more biscuits.  At the prescribed thickness, you should have 12 biscuits.
  9. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.  After baking, place the biscuits on a cooling rach for a minimum of 10 minutes before serving.
  10. While the biscuits are baking, make the compote.  Combine the berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan on high heat.
  11. Once the berry mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium.
  12. Stirring frequently, allow the raspberry mixture to simmer for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until thickening occurs and a syrup-like consistency is achieved.
  13. Transfer the compote to a medium bowl for cooling.  Compote can be served warm or room temperature.
  14. Spread the compote on a buttermilk biscuit and enjoy!

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Baking Notes:

There are two keys to fluffy, delicious biscuits.  First, your baking powder should be fresh.  If your powder has been in the cupboard for more than three months, your biscuits will not achieve that same fluffiness.  The second key: the temperature of your butter and buttermilk.  Both of these ingredients should be COLD.  Your buttermilk should remain in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it, and your butter definitely needs a brief stay in the freezer before use.

You can use frozen berries in the compote recipe – I often do in cool months.  Thaw before use.

Not a fan of blueberries and blackberries?  Try the raspberry compote featured in my Cream Cheese Crepes with Raspberry Compote recipe!  And if you have leftover compote, try it on Ella’s Cream Cheese Pound Cake or spread on a slice of Brown Butter Banana Nut Bread.  It adds an amazing dimension.

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