One of Mama Peggy’s most sought-after recipes. Everyone who knew Peggy Chaney still talks about her Southern style buttermilk biscuits. Now you can make your own.
- 4 cups self-rising flour
- ½ cup Crisco vegetable shortening
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 2 tbsp melted butter, optional
- Heat oven to 450°F.
- Grease baking sheet with vegetable shortening.
- Measure flour by spooning flour lightly into measuring cup.
- Using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingertips, cut the shortening into the flour until the pieces are about the size of peas.
- Stir in the buttermilk until the flour is moistened. Do not over-mix. Add enough buttermilk so the dough is slightly sticky, but not wet, when touched. You’ll know you have it right when the dough will come away from the bowl mostly without sticking to it (don’t get the dough too wet).
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape dough into a ball using floured hands. Handle the dough as little as possible. The more you work it, the worse your biscuits will turn out. Press dough to flatten slightly and fold in half. Repeat 4-6 times.
- Lightly roll the dough using a floured rolling pin to ½-inch thick.
- Cut biscuits using a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, without twisting the cutter.
- Place biscuits on the pan so that each biscuit is touching for soft biscuits (Peggy style) or slightly apart for more crisp biscuits.
- Put into oven and bake just until dough has started to rise (but before they’ve started to brown). Remove from oven and butter the tops of the biscuits.
- Return to oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and butter tops again (optional).
There has been debate in the family about whether or not an approximation of Mama Peggy’s biscuits was even possible or should be attempted. In the end, the recipe arrived at is, admittedly, an approximation. However, it was created by Peggy’s son, Kevin, who worked with her in the kitchen at Peggy’s Restaurant for many years, and who studied long and hard on the problem (and made a good many biscuits trying to get the recipe right).
Kevin’s sole motivation for trying to discover his mother’s biscuit recipe was simple and maybe a little selfish.
“I couldn’t stand the thought of spending the rest of my life never tasting Mama’s biscuits again,” he said.
To the naysayers, Kevin also felt compelled to say, “I ate Mama’s biscuits my whole life. More so, I imagine, than any of my aunts, uncles or cousins. These biscuits taste to me like Mama’s. But I didn’t create this recipe. Mama was guiding me every step of the way. I could almost hear her voice, telling me I needed more buttermilk or that I needed to fold the dough a few more times.”
“Mostly, I just tried to remember what Mama did at the cafe, and trusted her to guide me on the things I couldn’t remember. Of course, no one will ever beat Mama in the biscuit making department. But that’s not what this is about. This is about honoring Mama and having a chance to keep on eating her biscuits. What kind of life would it be without Mama’s biscuits?”