These easy cream biscuits from Natalie Dupree, made with just self-rising flour and cream, are so simple even a beginner can make them.
What is White Lily Flour?
An intrepid recipe tester of ours, Eydie Desser, recently had the good fortune of chatting with the lovely Nathalie Dupree about this very cream biscuits recipe, which comes from Dupree’s recent cookbook, Southern Biscuits. Nathalie imparted many words of biscuit-minded wisdom in response to Eydie’s questions, including the fact that she prefers to work with White Lily, a Southern belle of a flour that boasts a relatively low gluten content and, as a result, invariably turns out biscuits that are lighter and fluffier than anything made with standard-issue flours. If you aren’t able to find White Lily (or another self-rising, low-gluten Southern flour such as Martha White or Midstate Mills), continued Nathalie, you can substitute an equal measure of self-rising cake flour and the results will be close to indistinguishable. Even if all you have available to you is standard-issue self-rising flour, simply scale back on the amount of flour in this recipe by two tablespoons and your biscuits will mimic those made with White Lily. Neat-o, yes?
How to Make Self-Rising Flour
One last flour fact. Because we know self-rising flour isn’t necessarily a must in everyone’s pantry, we wanted to share how to make your own self-rising flour via a very easy equation: 1 cup of self-rising flour = 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1 cup all-purpose flour. [In case you haven’t a calculator handy, when you do the math for this recipe, that equates to 1 tablespoon of baking powder + 3/4 teaspoon salt + 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. You’re welcome.]
Easy Cream Biscuits
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 30 M
- Makes 12 to 16 biscuits
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Adjust the oven rack to one of the top positions, setting the rack one shelf above the middle shelf but not so close to the top of the oven that the biscuits will bump into it as they rise.
For a soft biscuit exterior, select an 8- or 9-inch cake pan, pizza pan, or ovenproof skillet. The biscuits will nestle together snugly, helping each other stay tender but rise while baking. Brush the pan with butter.
For a crisp biscuit exterior, select a baking sheet or large baking pan where the biscuits can be spaced wide apart, allowing air to circulate and creating a crisp exterior. Brush the pan with butter.
In a large bowl, fork-sift or whisk 2 cups flour. Make a deep well in the center of the flour. Pour 1 cup cream into the well and stir with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, using broad circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the cream. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough becomes sticky and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If flour remains on the bottom and sides of the bowl, stir in 1 to 4 tablespoons of the reserved cream, just enough to incorporate the remaining flour into the shaggy, wettish dough.
Lightly sprinkle a cutting board or other clean surface with some of the reserved flour. Turn the dough out onto the board and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Flour your hands and then fold the dough in half. Pat the dough into a round about 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick, using a little additional flour if the dough is sticky.
Fold the dough in half a second time. If the dough still seems clumpy, pat and fold it a third time. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick round for a normal biscuit, 3/4 inch thick for a tall biscuit, and 1 inch thick for a giant biscuit. Brush any visible flour from the top.
Dip a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter into the reserved flour and cut out the biscuits, starting at the outside edge and cutting very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter. Re-flour the cutter after each biscuit. (The scraps may be combined to make additional biscuits, although the scraps will result in tougher biscuits.)
Using a metal spatula, move the biscuits to the pan or baking sheet. Bake the biscuits for 6 minutes and then rotate the pan so the front is now turned to the back. If the bottoms are browning too quickly, slide another baking pan underneath to add insulation. Continue baking another 4 to 8 minutes, until the cream biscuits are lightly golden brown, a total of 10 to 14 minutes.
When the biscuits are done, remove from the oven and immediately brush the top of the biscuits with softened or melted butter, using a light touch. Turn the biscuits out upside down on a plate to cool slightly. Serve while still hot, right side up.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Seemed strange--if not outright blasphemous--that a Southern biscuit recipe not have butter or shortening, but this recipe is awesome! I don't think I'll go back to cutting butter into flour ever again. The heavy cream works like magic. They were mostly devoured warm, but the ones that were left over still tasted great the next day.
The recipe directions call for very minimal handling of the dough, and this is important so as not to end up with a hockey-puck biscuit. I think I will try this next time with shredded Cheddar for an even richer biscuit.
This is a fabulous recipe for perfect biscuits in a snap—it only has two ingredients!
I couldn’t find the self-rising version of White Lily flour, so I added 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. With the full 4 tablespoons cream, the dough was extremely easy to work with. I didn’t use any shaggy or clumpy parts of the dough, and after folding twice, it was perfect—soft but not sticky. Voila! Eleven minutes later, we had hot, flaky biscuits.