KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Put your baking skills and taste buds to the test at the 2017 International Biscuit Festival.
The festival, sponsored by Southern Biscuit, is now accepting recipe submissions for their biscuit baking contest May 20 in Downtown Knoxville. More than 20,000 biscuit lovers will fill downtown Knoxville for the festival.
Biscuit baking categories include sweet, savory, specialty biscuits. Organizers say the specialty category is for those biscuits that are over the top and incredibly imaginative. The festival also has a student category for entrants 18 and younger.
Three finalists from each category will be invited to bake live in front of the International Biscuit Festival’s panel of celebrity judges, as well as biscuit lovers at the festival.
“We always look forward to the creativity that goes into the recipes we receive. We anticipate the 2017 season to continue to impress us in all categories,” said Chris Kahn, reigning chair of the Biscuit Baking Contest.
Biscuit baking contest applications are available online. Submissions will be accepted until midnight on April 20, 2017. Finalists will compete at the festival on May 20, 2017.
2016 Biscuit Bake-Off Recipes
GRAND CHAMPION: Matt Sandbank
The “Take-All-My-Cares-Away, Almond Caraway!” Biscuit
For the Almond Paste:
1 ½ cups almonds
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 ½ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp salt
For the caraway syrup:
½ cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
4 ½ Tbsp caraway seeds
For the biscuit dough:
2 cups Southern Biscuit self-rising Flour
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (3/4 cup measured with ¼ cup in reserve)
For biscuit topping:
1 small carton heavy whipping cream
1 Granny Smith apple
1 small packet blanched, slivered almonds
Handful of caraway seeds
For the almond paste:
In a food processor, blend almonds until they become a thick paste. Add remaining ingredients and blend until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the caraway syrup:
Add caraway seeds to the water and bring water to a boil. After water is thoroughly tinted brown (2-3 minutes of boiling), reduce to medium heat, stir in sugar and simmer until very thick, about 12 or so additional minutes. Allow to cool completely before use.
Cut butter into small (1-2 cm) cubes and add to Southern Biscuit Flour. Use a pastry cutter to further cut butter into flour. Work quickly to ensure the butter does not have time to begin melting. Cut until no butter pieces are larger than pea-sized. Make a well in the center of the butter/flour mixture and
pour in ¾ cup of almond milk. Stir gently, taking care not to overwork the dough. Add ¼ cup of almond milk in reserve, if needed. Dough should be fairly sticky at the end of mixing. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Sprinkle a little Southern Biscuit Flour on top and lightly press out the dough. Fold in half and press out again. Repeat several times with as light a touch as possible.
Press out dough one last time and begin cutting out biscuits with a small circular biscuit tin (I use a 2 inch-diameter tin). Arrange biscuits in a cast iron skillet with deep sides. Begin by placing first biscuit in the center of the skillet and place subsequent biscuits next to center biscuit, moving outward in a circle, so all biscuits’ edges are touching one another. Once all biscuits are in skillet, use a well-floured thumb to press a well into the center of each biscuit. Press each well gently but firmly until you can feel the bottom of the skillet with your thumb. Press outward gently to make a well that is about 1 inch in diameter, though there is no need to be perfectly exact on this score. Fill each well with prepared almond paste. Do not quite fill to the brim of the well.
Bake biscuits at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes, turning at 8 minutes if the biscuits appear to be getting unevenly baked.
For biscuit topping:
While oven is heating for biscuits, put slivered almonds on a cookie tray and toast them slightly.
While biscuits are baking, dice granny smith apple into very small, 1 cm cubes. Put whipping cream in blender or food processor and blend until crème fraiche is achieved. Allow biscuits to cool for 2-3 minutes when they come out of the oven, then top with crème fraiche. Sprinkle apples and slivered almonds and (in smaller amount) caraway seeds on top of crème fraiche.
Pour one spoonful of caraway syrup on top of the biscuit/crème fraiche/sprinkles.
Makes 10-12 servings.
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