Thomas Jefferson's Sweet Potato Biscuits

Thomas Jefferson’s Sweet Potato Biscuits

Makes about 2 dozen biscuits.
These biscuits, faithfully re-created every day at City Tavern (in Philadelphia), were adapted from Thomas Jefferson’s food writings; unsurprisingly, they include one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite ingredients, pecans.

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbls. baking powder
1 1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups roasted, mashed and cooled sweet potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger and allspice.
3. Add the shortening and cut in with 2 knives until crumbly.
4. Add the sweet potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon.
5. Add the cream and pecans and stir just until moistened.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut out with a 2-inch floured biscuit cutter. Place biscuits 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm or let cool on a wire rack.

Chef’s note: This biscuit dough freezes beautifully unbaked. Just layer the dough between wax paper and store for up to three months. Defrost the dough and follow baking directions.

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