When it comes to making biscuits, there are two ways to go about it. There’s the classic Buttermilk Biscuit, and there’s the Sweet Cream Biscuit. Buttermilk biscuits are typically made with buttermilk, and lots (and lots) of butter. Sweet cream biscuits, on the other hand, opt for heavy cream instead of buttermilk and butter. Buttermilk biscuits tend to be a bit lighter and flakier, while sweet cream biscuits are slightly more scone-like. The real selling point of sweet cream biscuits is that they come together in minutes, and are incredibly easy to make. Each biscuit has their merits, and people tend to have very strong opinions when it comes to their preferred type of biscuit.
As for me, I’ve always favored the buttermilk biscuit. They’re buttery, pillowy, flaky, and perfect. To be fair, however, I’d never really given the sweet cream biscuit a chance. I’ve always defaulted to making biscuits with butter, and I’d never even attempted to make sweet cream biscuits.
Until now, that is.
A few weeks ago, I bought a whole bunch of Italian Prune Plums at the farmer’s market. (If you’ve not tried Italian Prune Plums, they are so incredibly delicious. And they are currently in season! Go get em!) Anyway, I got home with my giant bag of plums and realized I didn’t exactly know what to do with all my plums. So, I starting perusing the interwebs for ideas, and I stumbled upon my friend Michelle’s recipe for Sweet Cream Biscuits with Earl Grey Whipped Cream and Plum Jam. I was intrigued and delighted by the recipe, and knew I needed to make my own version.
So, I started by baking a batch of sweet cream biscuits. (I had to know what all the fuss was about, after all. Turns out, they’re totally awesome.) Since I was working with fresh plums (as opposed to plum jam), I had the idea to roast the plums with a bit of brown sugar and olive oil. Lastly, I didn’t have any Earl Grey tea, but I did have a tin of loose leaf Masala Chai Tea. Bingo. And that’s how this dessert was born.
Please note, this dessert is best eaten fresh! Biscuits are a type of quick bread, and they generally don’t keep well. Biscuits really are best the day they are baked, but they’re ok the next day if warmed or toasted. In general, however, I recommend you make this recipe the day you plan on eating it. (The plums and whipped cream, however, keep nicely in the fridge and are delicious for breakfast the next day…)
- For the Sweet Cream Biscuits:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, chilled
- For the Chai Spiced Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons loose-leaf Chai tea
- 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
- For the Roasted Plums:
- Several ripe Italian prune plums (8-10)
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- To make the Chai whipped cream: In a small bowl or jar, combine 1 cup of whipping cream with the loose leaf Chai tea. Gently stir together and cover the container, and allow to steep in the fridge for 1 hour or more.
- After the whipped cream has steeped for an hour, strain out the tea leaves (using a mesh sieve or cheesecloth). Pour the cream into a medium sized bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and add the powdered sugar. Using an electric mixer (or stand mixer), beat the cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
- To roast the plums: Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash and halve the plums, removing the pits. Toss plum halves with olive oil and brown sugar. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until plums are browning and releasing their juices. Remove from oven and set aside until use.
- To make the Sweet Cream Biscuits: Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until well combined. Pour one cup of the cream over the dry ingredients, using a fork (or your hands) to gently mix the ingredients together. If the mixture is too dry, add more cream, one spoonful at a time, until the dough is soft and moist. Using your hands, gently knead the dough until it just comes together. (Be careful not to overknead!)
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly pat the dough into a disc with your hands, until it is 1/2″ thick. (Once again, be sure not overwork the dough!)
- Using a biscuit cutter (or juice glass!), cut out the biscuit circles. Be sure to cut the biscuits close together, and get as many as you can from this round. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the remaining scraps together and gently pat into another 1/2″ disc and cut out another batch of biscuits. (Note: only repeat this process once. Toss any remaining scraps, as dough will be too overworked at this point.)
- Once you’ve cut out all your biscuits and placed them on baking sheets, brush the tops of the biscuits with cream. (Optional: you can also sprinkle a bit of sugar atop each biscuit, which I think looks rather pretty.) Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes, or until the biscuits are fluffy and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Adapted from Hummingbird High