1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
3/4 cup chilled sweet potato purée (see recipe below)
1/3 cup buttermilk
Making the Dough
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-size lumps of butter remaining. In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup chilled sweet potato purée and 1/3 cup buttermilk; stir quickly into flour mixture until combined (do not overmix).
Shaping the Biscuits
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead very gently until dough comes together but is still slightly lumpy, five or six times. (If dough is too sticky, work in up to 1/4 cup additional flour.) Shape into a disk, and pat to an even 1-inch thickness. With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits as close together as possible. Gather together scraps, and repeat to cut out more biscuits (do not reuse scraps more than once).
Baking the Biscuits
Preheat oven to 425*F, with rack on lower shelf. Butter an 8-inch cake pan.
Arrange biscuits snugly in pan (to help them stay upright). Brush with 1/2
tablespoon melted butter. Bake until golden, rotating once, 20 to 24 minutes.
Serves 4; Prep time: 10 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
Maple-Butter, Orange-Ginger, or Lime-Cayenne flavoring (optional)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil; cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Drain potatoes; purée in food processor.
3. Add flavorings, if desired; purée. For Maple-Butter: Add 2 tablespoons each melted butter and maple syrup; serve purée with more butter and syrup. For
Orange-Ginger: Add 1/4 cup each milk and orange juice, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger. For Lime-Cayenne: Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and a pinch of cayenne; thin with a bit of cooking liquid, if needed.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
Photo: Victoria Pearson