Country Ham Biscuit with Fig Jam

May  8, 2017
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 12 to 18 biscuit sandwiches
Author Notes

There's nothing that compares to country ham, but prosciutto or ibérico would be the best options for subs—though I would love to have more people calling Nancy Newsom Mahaffey for the real deal. —George Weld

What You'll Need
  • For the jam:
  • 1 pound dried figs
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • For the biscuits and assembly:
  • 3 1/4 cups (1 pound) pastry flour
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 ounces cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups sour milk (add 2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar 2 3/8 cups milk)
  • 12 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus 2 tablespoons (divided)
  • 8 ounces country ham (prepared according to the producer's instructions); see headnote for substitutes
  • Fig jam (recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  1. For the jam:
  2. Cut the stems off of the figs and discard. Combine figs and all other ingredients in a saucepan, and stir well. Add water just to cover.
  3. Bring pot to a simmer over medium heat, then lower heat and cook slowly, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. Add water as necessary to keep the jam from sticking or burning. Cook until figs have broken down somewhat (an hour or so). Purée gently with immersion blender or in a food processor, so that jam has a sticky but spreadable consistency.
  1. For the biscuits and assembly:
  2. Important note! Keep all ingredients for the biscuits cold throughout the process.
  3. Heat the oven to 500° F. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar and blend well.
  4. Toss the 12 tablespoons of butter pieces into the flour and blend well with your fingers—you’ll squeeze and pinch the butter into the flour until it’s well-mixed and no piece of butter is larger than the fingernail on your smallest finger. The flour should resemble cornmeal. You want to do this step as quickly as possible so the butter does not begin to melt, but be thorough: getting the butter right is your best hedge against tough biscuits.
  5. Add milk to the flour and butter. Working quickly, mix the milk in with a rubber spatula, mixing only until the dough begins to hold together.
  6. Dump the dough onto floured work surface. Gather it together and pat briefly to flatten. Fold the dough over on itself 3 or 4 times, then pat into a rough rectangle about 3/4- to 1-inch thick. Use a bench scraper to ensure dough isn’t sticking to table.
  7. Use 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits from dough. Do not twist cutter as you cut the biscuits. If the biscuits stick to the cutter, dip it in a little flour before cutting. Place the biscuits onto a well-buttered baking sheet. They should be almost touching. Brush tops lightly with buttermilk.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden, well-risen and light; if they feel wet or heavy, bake them longer.
  9. Lower the oven to 450° F. Split 4 of the biscuits (save the rest for another use!) and place on a baking sheet. Put a piece of the remaining 2 tablespoons butter on each side of each biscuit.
  10. Next to the biscuits on the same baking sheet, divide the ham into 4 piles and cover with cheddar. Put the biscuits and ham into the oven and cook until the cheese and butter have melted.
  11. To assemble, put a pile of cheese and ham on the bottom half of each biscuit. Add 2 teaspoons of fig jam to the top half, close, and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kit Maharajh
    Kit Maharajh
  • Sharon mount
    Sharon mount
  • Gordon
  • Maureen

6 Reviews

Sharon M. June 17, 2017
I think there's an error in the listing of ingredients. I think it means to say the second amount of butter as 2T, not 12T; it is the amount for melting on the biscuits after baking, when prepping in the oven.
Gordon May 29, 2017
There is a ham avaliable here call Red Eye Country ham which is much less expensive, maybe $13.00/pound. But remember a little goes a long way. Slice it almost paper thin, and then all you need is 2 or 3 thin slices for a ham biscuit.
Maureen May 28, 2017
I was born in Virginia and grew up eating country ham. I adore it. But I can no longer afford it! Any solution for that?
Kit M. May 22, 2017
Why is Kosher salt so important with HAM???
Gordon May 29, 2017
Back before refrigerators food could be preserved by salting. Fish is another example, salt cod. Salting ham makes it safe to eat as it does away with all the bad bacteria and you can store it without refrigeration for a long time. To cook a raw country ham you soak in in clean water for 2 days changing the water about every 12 hours. Then you can bake it in the oven.
Gordon May 14, 2017
You should try Edwards Country hams from Virginia. They are the BEST around. Now do not use to much as it is salty, but the taste is excellent.