These are a southern staple. Ham and biscuits. In the south, ham and biscuits are as ubiquitous as a smile and nod hello. And I confess, I specifically had these biscuits in mind when I made that ham last week.
This is my grandmother’s recipe. Myne, who still lives on the Northern Neck in rural Virginia, would make these ham biscuits for her big Christmas party every year.
It was a fancy affair. I remember the ladies and gentlemen adorned in their holiday finery, with their glasses of sherry and cocktails, floating around the living room, chatting, smiling, laughing and all the while nibbling on the bounty at Myne’s buffet table. The ham biscuits were always my favorite.
Dainty little two bite wonders, with slivers of extra salty country ham sandwiched between those buttery, yeasty biscuits. It’s little wonder that when I moved to Florida umpteen years ago that this was one tradition that I couldn’t/wouldn’t let go.
For some reason, it’s harder to come by country ham here than in Virginia. They don’t sell them in the markets or even at specialty food stores. You have to order them online. Trouble is, I never have the forethought to order a ham or the pre-planning to determine a delivery date which will coincide with an actual planned event.
So I learned early on, that plan B was my best alternative. Make the simple ham that I’m used to and serve it perfectly perched atop Myne’s angel flake biscuits. I think apricot butter is the ideal accompaniment for this knockout treat!
These biscuits have buttermilk, yeast and enough butter to make a croissant jealous. The one thing they don’t have — is salt. The saltiness is supposed to come from the ham. Combined with the apricot butter, you get the tri-fecta of southern comfort food.
I’ve served these ham biscuits at parties, for Christmas brunch or anytime I’ve had a crowd to feed with small bites. They always go quickly and are definitely a hit. And I always save a few for later — when it’s just me and Scott. There’s nothing better after the crowds retreat than a ham biscuit with a glass of wine!
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 cups buttermilk, well shaken
- 1 package dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons warm water to dissolve yeast in
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, diced
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 2 pounds salty ham, shaved or very thinly sliced (see recipe on this site)
- Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add butter. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until its well combined and crumbly- looking. This may take 5-10 minutes.
- Mix yeast and warm water together in a small bowl. Set aside to bloom for a few minutes.
- Add buttermilk and yeast to flour mixture and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate dough until ready to bake.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Dust a work surface with flour. Take 1/4 of the dough and place it on the work surface. Knead dough for about 20 seconds. Lightly sprinkle top of dough and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough to about a half to 3/4" thickness. Using small biscuit cutter (mine is about 2" in diameter- which makes perfect 2-3 bite biscuits), cut out biscuits. Transfer biscuits to the parchment paper.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until very lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, add the butter and preserves to the bowl of a mini-prep food processor. Pulse until the mixture comes together and is very smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- To assemble biscuits, split a biscuit in half. Lay several thin slices of ham on the biscuit. Spread a small spoonful of the apricot butter onto the top half of the biscuit and place on the ham. Serve.
- You don't have to make all the biscuits at once. Use what you need and keep the rest of the dough refrigerated until you want to make more.
- If serving at a party, assemble the ham biscuits in advance and serve them on large platters.
- Also - if you can get real country ham where you are -- do it! Have the butcher shave it super-thin.