This recipe is a riff on the big, hearty, Hungarian biscuits that my mother, Margit Horvath, baked constantly. Bacon bits are reasonable (and less fatty) modern stand-ins for the pork cracklings that are traditionally added. The potato dough is so tender and flaky. The recipe is quite unusual, in that it starts with softened butter. (Cold butter yields decent, but very different, biscuits.)
1 large russet potato, peeled, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/3 cup (75 mL) sour cream (14%)
2 large eggs
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour (13-1/2 oz/385 g) + more for dusting
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter (8 oz/250 g), cut in 8 pieces, softened
1/3 cup (75 mL) bacon bits
1 large egg
2 tbsp (30 mL) milk
Biscuits: In medium pan of boiling, salted water, cook potato on medium heat 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain well. Press through potato ricer into medium bowl. Let sit 15 minutes, or until cooled but not room temperature. Measure out 7 oz (200 g) or 1 cup (250 mL). (Keep remainder for other uses.)
In measuring cup, combine sour cream and eggs with fork.
In food processor, pulse once to combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in potato. 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. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until cold.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Place 2 racks on tiers above and below centre of oven. Preheat oven to 325F (160C). Set bacon bits in small measuring cup next to work surface.
Egg Wash: In small bowl, whisk together egg and milk.
Lightly dust work surface with flour. Press dough into rectangle 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. (Dough will be soft.) Brush surface with some egg wash. Sprinkle bacon evenly over top. Fold dough in 3 sections, like a business letter. In other direction, fold in 3 sections. Repeat: Press into rectangle 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick; brush surface with egg wash, fold in 3 sections, like a business letter; in other direction, fold in 3 sections. Repeat again.
Press dough into rectangle 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Using small, sharp knife or razor, cut crosshatch pattern lightly across surface. Lightly dust 2-1/2 inch (6 cm) serrated biscuit cutter with flour, then punch out rounds. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheets, 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. (There will be some left over. Discard it.) Bake in preheated oven 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Switch racks at halftime.
- Crosshatching the tops gives these biscuits an authentic Hungarian look, but you could skip that step.
Kitchen Secrets: Folding repeatedly and brushing the dough with egg wash ensures flaky layers.
Oh No: Do not let egg wash drip down the sides of the dough. It can turn into glue.
Shopping Cart: I confess I used store-bought bacon bits, for the sake of convenience. You can, of course, make your own.
P is for Pogacsa: In Hungarian, pogacsa means scone or cake. But everyone knows pogacsa specifically refers to the savoury, flaky biscuits that are ubiquitous in Hungary. The most popular type is made with pork crackling called töpörtyú, or sometimes with smoked bacon. I also love tender, cheesy pogacsa. (Try: Smoky Cheese Pogacsa.)
CREDIT: SUSAN SAMPSON
TESTED IN IMPERIAL