Biscuit Berry Nests — Two Treats In One
If you adore fruit baked into your biscuits or even biscuits slathered with fruity jam, then you will go bonkers for “Biscuit Berry Nests.”
Because a jumble of fresh berries is baked into an actual hole punched into each biscuit. Not only that, but those “holes” are also baked, creating regular biscuits, too.
It’s like donuts plus donut holes — but in biscuit form.
This fun little recipe is from “Hot Little Suppers” (Harper Horizon, 2021), of which I received a review copy.
It was written by Carrie Morey, founder of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, a South Carolina business based on her mom’s from-scratch biscuits that has now grown to encompass eateries, a food truck, and mail-order items.
Of course, you’ll find biscuit recipes galore inside, including “Cinnamon Biscuits” and “Whipping Cream Biscuits,” plus accompaniments such as “Savory Thyme Butter,” along with clever ways to use up leftover biscuits (does that ever happen?) in dishes such as “Toasted Maple Biscuit Casserole.” Since one can’t live on biscuits alone, there are also entree recipes such as “Lemony Crab Pasta” and “Salty Sticky Sweet Pot Roast.”
When I saw the photo of these clever biscuit nests in the book, I knew I had to make them. They didn’t disappoint, though, I did have to tweak the recipe in a number of areas.
The biscuits are made with self-rising flour, which is easy enough to make at home by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder plus 1/4 teaspoons salt per 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
The recipe states that you need 2 1/2 cups of self-rising flour, with 1/2 a cup reserved for dusting. I found that was way too much flour in reserve. This dough is not overly sticky, so really, all you need is a light dusting of flour on your board. Honestly, just a sprinkle of regular all-purpose will suffice. That’s why I amended the recipe to use only 2 cups of self-rising flour.
Second, the recipe stated to roll the dough into a 2-inch-thick round. There is no way I could create a round that tall, given the amount of dough I had, unless I wanted to make a biscuit that served only two people. So, instead, I settled on making the dough round barely 1-inch thick.
Third, the recipe instructs to use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to punch holes into the dough round. The photo in the book shows five holes made. I used a 2-inch cutter and I could barely eek out four holes. So, I noted that in the recipe below.
As such, I didn’t need the 2 to 3 cups of mixed berries originally called for in the recipe, either. Instead, I probably used only half of that, piling them into each hole in the dough.
The big biscuit round stuffed with berries, plus the cut-out biscuits bake together on one baking sheet. I found that the individual biscuits were done a little faster, so I removed them to a cooling rack while letting the big biscuit round continue to bake for a few minutes longer.
Both biscuit versions end up with a nice crunchy exterior almost like that of a scone, plus a tender fluffy crumb. With only 6 tablespoons of butter in the dough, this is a leaner tasting biscuit with a whisper of sweetness.
Cut the big biscuit round into slices to serve. A dollop of whipped cream will add a shortcake-like taste. Enjoy the individual biscuits alongside or save them to enjoy for breakfast the next day. Because with this recipe, you get two treats in one.
Biscuit Berry Nests
(Serves about 4)
2 cups self-rising flour (see Note below)
7 tablespoons butter (6 tablespoons cut into small cubes, at room temperature, and 1 tablespoon melted)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon plus a splash of vanilla extract
1/3 to 1/2 cup whole milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups mixed berries (such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries)
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
Whipped cream or ice cream to serve, if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the 6 tablespoons of cubed butter. Incorporate the butter into the flour, working the dough between your thumb and middle and pointer fingers to “snap” the dough together, until the mixture resembles cottage cheese. It will be chunky with some loose flour.
Combine the white sugar and cinnamon. Add to the dough and stir.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla and milk.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the milk mixture a little bit at a time, using your hands or a small rubber spatula to mix the flour into the milk mixture until the texture is “wetty,” tacky, and sticky. You may not need all of the milk mixture. You want the dough to be wet and messy but not sloppy.
Sprinkle a little all-purpose or self-rising flour on top of the dough. Run a rubber spatula around the inside of the bowl, creating a separation between the dough and the bowl. Sprinkle a bit more flour in this crease, if need be.
Flour a piece of parchment paper. With force, dump the dough from the bowl onto the paper. Flour the top of the dough and the rolling pin. Roll out the dough into a 1-inch thick round.
Flour a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Start from the edge of the rolled-out dough and cut straight through the dough, making four biscuits, if possible, about 2 inches apart.
Place the parchment paper with the dough onto a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the cut-out biscuits from the centered dough round and line them up along the edge of the sheet. (it’s okay for the biscuits to touch each other.) Fill the holes in the dough with heaping servings of berries.
Brush the biscuits and the dough round with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle all with turbinado sugar.
Bake berry-filled dough and the biscuits for 16 to 18 minutes, until the biscuit tops are golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. If the biscuits are done first, remove them to a cooling rack, and continue baking the berry-filled dough.
To serve, slice the berry-filled round into pie-like wedges. Top each slice with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. You can serve each portion with a biscuit or save the cut-out biscuits for later.
Note: To make 2 cups of self-rising flour, add 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to 2 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir or whisk well to combine.
Adapted from “Hot Little Suppers” by Carrie Morey
More Biscuit Recipes to Enjoy: Angel Biscuits
And: Aphrodisiac Biscuits
And: The Baker’s Biscuits
And: Cathead Biscuits