This recipe is a riff on the big, hearty, Hungarian biscuits baked by my mother, Margit Horvath. Bacon bits are reasonable (and less fatty) modern stand-ins for the cracklings called töpörtyu that are traditionally added. I even used store-bought bacon bits for convenience. The recipe is unusual in that it starts with softened butter. Firm butter creates decent, but very different, biscuits. Mom says folding and brushing the dough ensures flaky layers. Crosshatching the top gives it an authentic look, but you can skip that step if desired.
1 large russet potato, peeled, cut in 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1/3 cup (80 mL) sour cream
2 large eggs
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup (80 mL) bacon bits
1 large egg
2 tbsp (30 mL) milk
For biscuits, add potato to medium pan filled with salted water. Bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Press through potato ricer into medium bowl. Let sit until cooled but not cold, at least 15 minutes. Measure out 7 oz (200 g) or about 1 packed cup (250 mL). Keep remainder for other uses.
In measuring cup, blend sour cream and eggs with fork.
In bowl of food processor, use pulse button to briefly whirl together flour, baking powder and salt. Add butter. Pulse to process until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in potato, then pour in sour cream mixture. Pulse until blended and clumpy. Do not overmix.
Turn out onto work surface. Knead a couple of times to finish mixing. Press into disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Place 2 racks close to centre of oven.
Set bacon bits in measuring cup on counter. For egg wash, whisk together egg and milk in small bowl.
On lightly floured surface, press dough into rectangle 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. (It will be soft.) Brush surface with egg wash. Sprinkle bacon evenly over top. Fold dough in 3 like a business letter. In other direction, fold in 3 like a business letter. Press into rectangle 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, brush surface with egg wash, fold in 3 like a business letter, then, in other direction, fold in 3 like a business letter. Repeat pressing into rectangle, brushing with egg wash and folding. Press into rectangle 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.
Using small, sharp knife or razor, cut crosshatch pattern lightly across surface. Punch out rounds with floured, 2-1/2 inch (6 cm) serrated cookie/biscuit cutter. Transfer to prepared baking sheets, placing rounds 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) apart. Re-roll scraps, crosshatch, punch out rounds and add to baking sheet.
Brush tops lightly with egg wash without letting it drip down sides. (There will be some left over.)
Bake in preheated 325F oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes, switching racks at halftime.
Credit: Susan Sampson
Tested in Imperial