In Portland, Oregon, you can buy these fresh, buttery biscuits right from Grand Central Bakery. Here’s their published version of these delights, right down to the signature pool of jam spilling over the edge of the pastry. Just in time for breakfast.
Like any good pastry, jammers—biscuits with a jam bursting from their centers—are irresistible warm from the oven. Remember, the better the quality of the jam, the better the jammer. I recommend preparing the ingredients the night before. When you bite into one of these warm jam-filled biscuits first thing the next morning, you’ll consider the time well spent.–Piper Davis
HOW DO I MAKE FLUFFY BISCUITS?
The secret to light and fluffy biscuits is to keep lots of chunky butter bits in the batter. Butter melts during baking, leaving flaky layers as well as releasing steam that helps to keep those jammers tender. In order to keep those bits of butter solid, make sure everything is cold when you start and keep it as cold as possible. Avoid overworking the dough—you’ll keep your ingredients colder and you’ll avoid developing gluten as well.
Grand Central Bakery Jammers
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
- Dump the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl with high sides or the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
- Dice the butter into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes. Use your hands or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the texture of the flour changes from silky to mealy. There should still be dime- to quarter-size pieces of butter remaining. (You can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the biscuit dough overnight.)
- Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in 1 cup buttermilk all at once. Gently mix the dough just until it comes together. It will look sorta rough and scrappy. Scrape the dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add another 1/4 cup buttermilk and mix again to incorporate any floury scraps. The majority of the dough will come together on the paddle if you're using a stand mixer. Stop mixing while there are still visible chunks of butter and floury patches. The dough should come out of the bowl in 2 to 3 large, messy clumps, leaving only some small scraps and flour around the sides of the bowl. If the dough is visibly dry and crumbly, add up to 1/4 cup more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing no more than one rotation after each addition.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use the heels and sides of your palms to gather the dough and gently pat it into an oblong shape 1 1/2 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) thick. It won't look smooth or particularly cohesive; that's okay. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the jammers into circles at least 2 1/2 inches (7 cm) in diameter. Layer the leftover scraps on top of one another and gently pat them out to a thickness of 1 1/2 to 2 inches and again cut into circles.
- Use your thumb to make an indentation the size of a fifty-cent piece in the middle of each biscuit. While gently supporting the outside edge of the biscuit with your fingers, use your thumb to create a bulb-shaped hole that's a bit wider at the bottom and that goes almost to the bottom of the biscuit (think pinch pot). Try to apply as little pressure as possible to the outside of the biscuit, to avoid smashing the layers, which are the key to flaky jammers. Fill each indentation with 1 tablespoon jam and put the jammers on the prepared baking sheet with 1 1/2 inches between them.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The jammers should be a deep golden brown.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is a phenomenal recipe! The jam-filled biscuits have a crunchy crust and a soft interior. I've often tried to make biscuits at home without achieving this balance, but I had no problems whatsoever with this well-written recipe. I love not only the flavor of the jams (I used apricot and blueberry) but the gorgeous jewel tones of the finished product. I plan to make these on a regular basis for breakfast and will also make an assortment of them when I have people over for brunch.
In the past, biscuits and I have had a troubled relationship. I want them to rise, they spread into flat pucks. I want them to be tender and flaky, they end up gummy and dense. But these jammers—wow! Mine turned out more craggy then flaky, but they were tender and rose upward, not outward. The ingredients came together very easily using my stand mixer, and the directions were very clear and easy to understand. I used homemade huckleberry jam to fill the biscuits. The only change I’d make would be to make the holes for the jam wider and shallower, so you get a more even mix of jam and biscuit in each bite.
Originally published November 10, 2009