Chef John's Sweet Potato Biscuits


  • 1 large orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 ¼ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate juice
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Cut sweet potato in half lengthwise. Cut each in half again lengthwise, then in half cross-wise. Cut each piece in half to make about 16 evenly sized chunks. Transfer into pot; cover with water and add salt. Bring to a simmer on high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender, about 17 minutes. Drain thoroughly; return to pot and mash potatoes. You will need 1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes. Cool thoroughly.


  • Step 2

    Transfer cooled mashed potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and buttermilk. Mix together until well combined.

  • Step 3

    Place self-rising flour in a separate mixing bowl. Grate frozen butter into flour, tossing with a fork to coat with flour after each addition of about 1/3 to 1/2 stick. This will prevent butter from clumping. Mixture should look like floury pieces of butter. Add sweet potato mixture. Toss with a fork until evenly distributed, but don’t overmix.

  • Step 4

    Transfer mixture onto a lightly floured work surface. Push and press mixture together into a rectangular shape, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Dough will be floury and a bit crumbly. Fold rectangle into thirds, lifting up one-third and folding onto the middle and doing the same with the other side. Dust with a bit of flour if sticking.

  • Step 5

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat.

  • Step 6

    Press dough into a rectangle again, about 1 inch thick. Repeat the tri-fold step. Press out into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Trim off the rough edges to square off the sides; this will maximize rising. Cut into 8 equal portions. Transfer to prepared baking pan, spacing biscuits evenly. Brush tops lightly with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

  • Step 7

    Bake in preheated oven until browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

  • Step 8

    Mix 4 tablespoons butter (room temperature), pomegranate syrup, and pomegranate juice together in a small bowl. Spread on warm biscuits. Sprinkle with a few pomegranate seeds for garnish.

  • Chef's Notes:

    This recipe makes 8 large or 12 regular-size biscuits.

    To make your own self-rising flour, mix 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour with 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt.

    To make your own pomegranate syrup, heat pomegranate juice until it reduces and thickens.

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