I like books about people who do things. This summer I have been reading the Little House on the Prairie series, and boy do they do things. Make their own clothes, their own food – even their own house. I have a list of books I have enjoyed that detail the work of women in the kitchen, baking bread, tending gardens, canning produce, collecting their own honey. Now let me be clear, for the most part, I don’t want to do these things. I can’t sew or build or grow. I have a new found canning obsession, but it’s for fun, not survival. I just like the idea of doing all these things. I like the imagery of our foremothers carefully tending their corn crop, gratefully harvesting its bounty, shucking all those silky ears and turning them into delicious meals. These are the women who can crank out biscuits and breads in mass quantities, by touch and feel and eye. Again, I am not one of these women, but this recipe harks to that literary longing in me. The combination of freshly shucked corn and old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits.
These biscuits have the loveliest buttery yellow color, with the gorgeous flecks of fresh corn shining through. Serve these warm with some fresh, rich butter with a summer dinner and your friends will swoon. The breakfast possibilities are endless. Serve one with a slice of fresh tomato for a burst of summer flavor. And a buttered biscuit with a slice of bacon is a real treat. I think Ma Ingalls would approve.
Fresh Corn Buttermilk Biscuits
These biscuits are best served warm to bring out the fresh corn flavor. If you don’t eat them right out of the oven, wrap lightly in foil and heat for a few minutes in a low oven.
½ cup (1 stick) butter, divided
3 ears fresh yellow corn, husks and silks removed
1 cup buttermilk (preferably whole)
4 cups all-purpose flour (preferably White Lily), plus more for dusting
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line an 8 by 11 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Melt 1/3 cup of the butter and set aside to cool. Cut the kernels off two ears of corn and place in a blender. Puree until very smooth (you can add a drop of buttermilk to get things going if needed). Pour the puree into a 2-cup measuring jug. You should have about 1 cup puree. Add buttermilk to measure 2 cups of liquid. Return the liquid to the blender, add the melted butter and blend until smooth.
Cut the kernels off of the third ear of corn, picking out as much silk as you can, and set aside.
In a large, wide bowl, mix 3 ½ cups flour, the baking powder and salt with a fork until blended. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the wet ingredients. Using the fork, blend everything together, pulling the flour into the wet ingredients until everything is incorporated. Lightly flour your hands and work in up to another ½ cup of flour until you have a soft, cohesive dough. Drop in the corn kernels and knead a few times until they are distributed throughout the dough. Don’t be mean to this dough or it won’t be sweet to you.
Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Lightly knead the dough a few times, then pat it out into a circle 1-inch thick. Using a floured 2- inch biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits by just pressing down and lifting out – don’t twist the cutter. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet almost touching. You can pat out the dough scraps to cut more biscuits, but they are never quite as pretty. Bake the biscuits for 8 minutes.
While they biscuits are baking melt the remaining butter. After 8 minutes in the oven, remove the biscuits and brush the tops with the melted butter. Return to the oven for another 2 or three minutes until the biscuits are done. They won’t brown on top, but when they are firm to the touch they are ready.
Makes 12 – 14 biscuits