Buttermilk Biscuits With Pumpkin Chile Butter

October 27, 2021
4.5 Stars
Photo by Julia Garland. Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
Author Notes

These flaky biscuits are a must at the Thanksgiving table. They’re also terrific for day-after turkey sandwiches. For best results: Test the freshness of your baking powder by mixing a small spoonful with ¼ cup of hot water. The baking powder should bubble vigorously upon contact. If it doesn't, you're best off getting a new can. Be sure to freeze your butter before cutting it in. Don’t overmix the dough. And instead of a biscuit cutter, use a sharp chef’s knife. The only scraps here are from the border, which makes a fine snack as you prep the rest of the holiday meal. Bake in a cast-iron skillet for a crispy crust and soft, fluffy center.

Now about that compote butter: I love gochujang for its kick and funk, but you can also use harissa—the concentrated kind, not saucy—or another favorite chile paste. Pumpkin purée imparts a mellow sweetness and, once the butter is mixed up, you’ll no doubt dream up all the other ways to use it. And if you’re wondering what to do with that leftover canned pumpkin, look no further. —Melina Hammer

Test Kitchen Notes

This dish is part of Residentsgiving—aka the Thanksgiving menu of our wildest dreams—created by Food52's resident experts-slash-superheroes. Devour the rest of the spread here, and while you're at it, learn how to Remix & Remaster your Thanksgiving. —The Editors

  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 9 biscuits and ½ cup butter
  • Pumpkin Chile Butter
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams/1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gochujang or harissa
  • 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams/1½ sticks) salted butter, cubed and frozen, plus more for greasing and brushing
  • 1 cup (227 grams) buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons honey
In This Recipe
  1. Pumpkin Chile Butter
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the butter and gochujang or harissa until uniform. Add the pumpkin and incorporate fully. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If you’re using it that day, set it aside until you’re ready to eat. If you’re using it later (this can be made up to 2 weeks in advance), transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate; just bring it to room temperature an hour before serving.
  1. Buttermilk Biscuits
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients to combine. Add the frozen cubed butter and pulse in intervals until most of the pieces are pea-sized, with some smaller pieces here and there.
  3. Empty the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and honey. Using a fork or silicone spatula, gently stir the ingredients until the buttermilk is incorporated—a few dry spots of flour are okay at this stage, but you don't want to overwork the dough.
  4. Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. With your hands, knead until the dough mostly holds together with a few stray crumbs. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick square or rectangle, long side parallel with the edge of your workspace.
  5. Use your hands or a bench scraper to fold the left third toward the center, then fold the right third on top of the left, as you would fold a letter. Turn the dough a quarter turn and then, using a pin, roll it out to 1 inch thick.
  6. Repeat the above step two more times.
  7. Use a sharp, floured knife to trim the edges (you can discard these or bake them up as a cook’s treat): Cut in a single motion to ensure the dough doesn’t compress. Cutting in the same, swift way, divide the dough into 9 equal rectangles. Freeze while you heat the oven to 425°F.
  8. Lightly grease a cast-iron skillet large enough to accommodate the biscuits. Nestle the frozen biscuits close to each other, to help them climb as they rise during baking. Brush their tops with melted butter. (If you’re baking the trimmed edges, brush butter onto those, too, and bake them separately.)
  9. Bake the biscuits for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden and risen. (If you want to be an overachiever, you can turn the biscuits on their sides after the 20-minute mark to help them get extra-golden edges, rotating every few minutes.)
  10. Transfer them to a serving basket and serve warm or at room temperature with the pumpkin chile butter. Store leftover butter in an airtight container in the fridge, and any remaining biscuits wrapped in foil at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

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When she's not writing, cooking, styling, and shooting her forthcoming cookbook - out Spring 2022 with Ten Speed Press - Melina makes food look its best for the New York Times, Eating Well, Edible, and other folks who are passionate about real food. She grows heirloom+native plants and forages wild foods at her Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. There, Melina prepares curated menus to guests seeking community, amidst the robust flavors of the seasons.

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