Ah, biscuits. I love you enough to have a whole blog category for you and all your many talents. Outside the U.S. where I live, “biscuits” generally refers to cookies. If I didn't know that already, after writing this blog since 2009 (!) and having a Facebook page almost as long, I know that I know that because you tell me as you puzzle over my references to “biscuits” with a photo of what you would swear were “scones”—or at the very least, not cookies. These gluten free ricotta biscuits are extra flaky, as I have come to demand that biscuits be, but with ricotta cheese in place of milk or buttermilk they are also and at the very same time incredibly tender. How do they do that?!
You can serve them any way at all that you like to serve biscuits (okay, scones) (with sausage gravy, perhaps?), but I have two favorite ways with these particular dreamy biscuits. With more ricotta cheese and a dollop of jam on top (oh my oh my), or as a biscuit sandwich. I think biscuits are underused for sandwiches. Don't you?
Unlike traditional biscuit recipes which are little more than the perfect balance of flour, baking powder, salt, butter and some type of milk, these gluten free ricotta biscuits contain eggs (or, more specifically, one egg and one egg white). The eggs help to bind the ricotta to the rest of the biscuit dough, and helps keep the pastry light despite the relative heaviness of the ricotta cheese at least as compared to straight-up milk or even buttermilk. Don't leave them out!
If you've ever had the urge to make an Egg McMuffin-style of biscuit sandwich (and don't want to use an actual gluten free English muffin, of course), these are the biscuits you've been waiting for. Crisp and flaky on the outside, pillow-soft and tender on the inside and just a little bit more hearty than your usual biscuit, these were born to sandwich. Trust me. :)
Tender and Flaky Gluten Free Ricotta Biscuits
2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch (or try potato starch or arrowroot)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, roughly chopped and chilled
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) + 1 egg white (25 g)
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) ricotta cheese, chilled
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the chopped butter to the flour mixture, and toss to coat. Place each piece of butter between your floured thumb and index finger to flatten. In a separate, medium-size bowl, place the egg, egg white and ricotta cheese and beat with a handheld mixer until well-combined and smooth. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture, and scrape in the egg and ricotta mixture. Mix with a large spoon or spatula until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, dust it lightly with more flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a thick rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise, dust again lightly with flour, and roll the dough out again into a thick rectangle. Once more, fold the rectangle in half lengthwise, and then fold again widthwise to create a much smaller, thicker rectangle. The dough should begin to take on a smoother appearance. Roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about 1-inch thick. With a floured 3 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out round of dough and place them about 2-inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Gather and preroll the scraps of dough and cut out as many more rounds as possible, placing them on the baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer until chilled (at least 5 minutes). Then place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the biscuits are puffed and very pale golden (about 18 minutes). Allow the biscuits to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes or until firm. Serve warm with more ricotta cheese and jam.