sweet velvet

Peach season ended two weeks ago. We made it just in time to pick them on the last available day. Most of the peaches had already dropped and turned into ground mush. However, we did fill two bags with slightly sweet and tart fruit with yellow flesh and velvets skins.

On Sunday afternoon, I peeled, sliced and pitted each peach and saved a few for making peach lassi’s and a peach pizza before freezing the rest. Inspired by the chapter on biscuits from Laurie Colwin’s book, “More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen,” I decided to make a peach pizza with biscuit dough as the crust. I too was in search of simple recipes using fresh summer fruit, and read that she turned plain biscuits which are perfectly wonderful all by themselves into quick and delicious savory and sweet pizzas.
I found a whole-grain biscuit recipe and went to work. The results: simple and utterly satisfying.
For a savory pie, brush the dough with olive oil and tomato sauce, add a coat of pesto, layer fresh tomatoes and garlic sliced paper thin, chiffonade a handful of basil, and sprinkle your favorite cheese on top. For dough variations add some ground almond meal, poppyseeds, or toasted sesame seeds to the biscuit flour.
For a sweet pie, add a bit of sugar to the biscuit dough (about 1 Tablespoon). Roll out the dough and add a layer of apricot or ginger jam. Sliced almonds or chopped walnuts are also a nice addition before topping the pizza off with a decorative fan or haphazard pattern (like mine) of peaches, plums, or nectarines. Sprinkle the fruit with sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes.
I searched online for a biscuit recipe using whole grain flour and with a few changes, this became my pizza dough.
Whole-grain Biscuit Pizza
(Whole-Grain biscuit dough adapted from an online Mayo Clinic recipe)
Yields 1 savory or sweet pizza dough or 16 biscuits

1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (add extra for kneading)
3 Tbs. wheat germ
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
3 Tbs. chilled buter (cut into small pieces)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk or 1 cup of soymilk plus 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar (add vinegar to soymilk and let sit for 5 minutes to sour)
optional variations:
replace 1/4 cup ground almonds for equal amount of all-purpose flour
add 1 Tbs. poppyseeds or toasted sesame seeds
*Add 1 Tbs. sugar with the flour mixture for a sweet biscuit dough.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Set out an ungreased nonstick baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, ground almonds (if using), sugar (if using), wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter chunks to flour mixture and blend using fingers (my favorite method), two knives, or a pastry blender until course crumbs form. Add the buttermilk or soymilk and stir just until dough is moist. Be careful not to overmix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and knead very gently 6-8 minutes with floured hands until dough is smooth and manageable.
On a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, roll the dough out into a rectangle 1/2-inch thick. For pizza dough, curl the edges up and crease to make an edge that will hold the juices in when baking. For biscuits, use your favorite biscuit cutter or a pint-glass dipped in flour, cut out biscuit. Cut close together. Gather remaining dough and roll out again to make additional biscuits.
Place the parchment or waxed paper and prepared dough onto a baking sheet or stone.
Follow the topping suggestions above for savory or sweet pizzas. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted or fruit is slightly caramelized.
Bake biscuits until they rise twice their unbaked height and are lightly golden, about 8-10 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite spread and share with many.


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