I started down the crème fraîche path via a vivid memory of my first trip to France, then began thinking outside the box, or off the path if you will. Biscuits came to mind because crème fraîche can sometimes substitute perfectly for buttermilk. I wanted to take advantage of the higher fat content of crème fraîche relative to that of buttermilk in order to transport other fragrances and flavors. Most flavors that carry flavor are fat-soluble, so I let my palate do the walking around the kitchen, and ultimately sorted my way to orange zest, fresh ginger, and fresh rosemary.
As far as adapting my traditional biscuit recipe to use crème fraîche rather than buttermilk, I used a bit more of the latter because it has more substance to it. I added the orange zest, fresh ginger, and fresh rosemary, and also boosted the salt a bit. Be sure not to over look the cream of tartar. Also known as tartaric acid, it’s going to add an extra boost of acid. The baking soda will react with it in addition to the acids in the crème fraîche, and produce an even more tender, fulffier-risen biscuit.
The son was the bagel boy, but the daughter loved biscuits. Making them for her was like throwing fish to seals. Ginger, rosemary, and lemon are the latest grown-up additions.
CRÈME FRAÎCHE BISCUITS
Yield = 12 biscuits
3 cups AP flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
Zest of one orange
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
4 ounces cold butter
16 ounces crème fraîche
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Sift together the AP flour, cake flour, salt, sugar, cream of tartar, and baking soda into bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Add the orange zest, ginger, and rosemary.
- Cut the butter into 1” chunks and add to the bowl. Mix on the lowest speed until butter is about the size of hazelnuts.
- If crème fraîche looks to have separated, and it probably will, stir it back together before measuring. Add crème fraîche. Mix until all dry ingredients have been incorporated.
- Generously flour your work surface. Use a plastic scraper to pull dough out onto your work surface. Gently press the dough together. Do not knead it! Coerce and press into a square shape about 1” thick. Use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 12 generally equal sections. Arrange them 1” apart on the baking sheet. Cutting the dough this way eliminates all scraps that have to be kneaded (there’s the k-word again) back together, re-pressed, and re-cut, all of which toughen dough terribly. Square biscuits are a bit of a novelty, and if it doesn’t bother you that they’re not all exactly the same size, it doesn’t bother me. Enjoy the rustic look; I do.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet front-to-back, and bake for 10 minutes more.
- Remove from oven and serve hot, naturally.