My new pandemic skills: pastry

I’m going to give myself a pass on this, basically because I have no clue when it comes to pastry - but I just realised that I may have assumed the wrong biscuit. I was thinking cookies - but do you mean the things that you have with gravy? (Which I believe is called a biscuit, but which is unknown on this side of the Atlantic.)

Re my jelly/jam making - my marmalade oranges have arrived! They were delivered to my friend J today, and we’re picking them up tomorrow. New adventure coming up! Also, cracked open a jar of the apple jelly yesterday - it’s bloody marvellous. At the time I made it I wasn’t that impressed. I must have been too traumatised to properly appreciate it (or do jams/jellies mature in the jar?)


By the way, i timed myself making a pie crust today. Cutting the butter into the flour took about 4 minutes.

Yes, i didn’t put gravy on them, but what i made was essentially a savory scone.

I have made cookies since I was a child, and they are easy. Far easier than jelly. I mean, there’s a vast range of things that we call cookies (which mostly, but not completely, overlaps with what’s called biscuits in the UK) and some are fussy. But lots of the most popular ones are extremely easy to make. Easier than either the biscuits i just made or jelly. (I’ve made jelly several times. It’s fussy, and it’s hard to tell when it’s cooked enough.)

Scones are a biscuit, just slightly sweeter. Same ingredients and process. If I could only have one it would be scones (I grew up in Iowa. Turn left at Wales and go 4,000 miles west.)

^ But isn’t a “biscuit” in the UK really some kind of (US) cookie?

Oh, my brain hurts!

I mangled that. What might be called a scone in England is what most of us in the US would call a biscuit. The scone being ever so slightly more sweet, lending itself to dessert applications, while biscuits are most often served in the US as savory accompaniments, unless, of course, we are serving them with strawberries and whipped cream as berry shortcakes.

What you Brits call biscuits we call cookies, yes. Scones with strawberries and whipped cream there would be almost indistinguishable from the stateside strawberry shortcakes (made with a sweet ‘biscuit’).

Have not had the pleasure to eat across the pond so I don’t know if the US savory biscuit has a counter there. This may be a sign I need (knead? Sorry, the devil made me do that…) to binge watch more British Baking Show seasons.

I realize that may not have helped your brain. Here, have some strawberries, whipped cream and a cookie.

There is one species of savoury/savory scone/biscuit* on this side of the Atlantic, the cheese scone. As I don’t have a sweet tooth, this is the only type of scone I like - so I’m thinking I might be up for a biscuit. And thinking a little more, you do occasionally (rarely) see a scone topping on a stew.

(Side note: the pronunciation of “scone” is a never-ending source of dispute. While I was checking to see if there was a wiki for Cheese Scone, I happened upon this handy pronunciation guide:

I asked the maid in dulcet tone
To order me a buttered scone;
The silly girl has been and gone
And ordered me a buttered scone.

I’m from the north. The second pronunciation is correct.)


(*) - I’m going to stop this - it’s even beginning to annoy me

Over here, it’s always the ‘tone’ scone that you hear. Either way, I gleefully snarf any tone-scone, gone-scone or biscuit that gets near me.

Hope more biscuits get within your reach. They’re cheese scones without the cheese, although cheese biscuits are very common here too. I know, we keep going ‘round and ‘round the scone/biscuit/cookie bush here. How about a shortbread?-just to make it interesting and further obscure. Or Irish soda bread, which is essentially a huge biscuit. So, biscuits can either be a cookie or a scone or a biscuit or a bread. Got it.

Biscuits are somewhat popular in Canada. But usually as the basis for a breakfast sandwich or a coveted extra at Red Lobster. Hardly ever with gravy.

And the cheese biscuits at Red Lobster are what I think is being talked about here as ‘savory cheese scones’. Call them whatever as long as I can reach the basket and there is plenty of butter.

I think of biscuits as richer than Irish soda bread.

Richer in terms of ratio of fat (butter or shortening)? Yes, biscuits would be richer, but only a matter of degrees.

Yes, biscuits are full of butter or lard, in my experience. Whereas i think of Irish soda bread as a regular lean bread, except that it’s leavened with baking powder instead of yeast. So they seem very different to me. I guess it depends how you classify foods in your head.

Leavened with soda usually.

Mrs Trep’s go-to homemade bread is soda bread (mine is sourdough for variety - the variety coming from the fact that no two batches are the same.)

I checked with Mrs T and yes, she has (as I just about remembered) made stews with scone topping once in a while. Here’s a recipe (actually with cheese scone topping). How close to a biscuit are we?


ETA: my marmalade oranges are here, delivered by J this afternoon. I started looking up recipes. A kilo of medlars gets you four small jars. Same sort of thing for quinces. Marmalade? A kilo and a half of oranges makes 9 LARGE jars. Crap - jar crisis!

Locally here in coastal North Carolina people swear that the best biscuits are made with flour from soft red winter wheat, a low protein, low gluten wheat. White Lily is the brand I’ve had recommended most often, but I don’t eat biscuits, and can’t recommend it personally.

Now, if we’re talking about skills acquired during the pandemic, I’m pretty proud of my jigsaw puzzle skills. I finished one in less than a week, and it said 3 - 5 years right on the box.

It’s a deal: you do the jig saw puzzles and I’ll make the biscuits and scones.

Your post reminded me of one my mother’s best meals: she would make scratch biscuits and set them on top of the contents of the monster can (maybe two) of Dinty Moore beef stew in a big-ass casserole dish and into the oven 'til the biscuits got golden brown. Man, oh man!