Growing up in Texas, biscuits were a staple — but learning how to make them was a chore. They can turn out like hockey pucks, and no one wants that.

When I was younger, I’d spend summer days with my grandma, who lived in a decent-sized house with a huge kitchen. I’d get there so early I’d pass out on the couch, only to wake up to the smell of bacon. She cooked everything from scratch — her kitchen was full of creation — because she always said, “Why buy it when you can just make it?” Eventually, I became her helper, and that was the first time I ever made biscuits. Classic buttermilk biscuits with homemade jelly using grapes and berries from her yard.

Moving to Seattle from Houston, I was excited to explore local foods the Pacific Northwest had to offer. The farmers markets, the fish, Ellenos Greek yogurt — so much fresh produce and local treasures I could experiment with in the kitchen. Going grocery shopping with my mom meant a trip to our local farmers market; I knew she’d enjoy Pike Place Market just as much as I did. When she came to visit, she discovered Ellenos Greek yogurt, and in no time she found her favorite flavor: lemon curd. When my parents visited during berry season, my dad told me how mom would eat whatever berries she passed on their walks. This is typical of my mom — growing up, we’d drive for what felt like hours to pick berries in the Texas heat, come home and make something delicious. Something she still does to this day. 

I wanted to re-create that feeling with these biscuits: It’s a beautiful summer day, you’ve gone to Pike Place Market, picked up some fresh produce and you’re heading home to make something delicious.

This is an ode to the women who let me mess up their kitchens, and to the new city I now call home.

Usually, biscuits are made with buttermilk, but many don’t know that Greek yogurt is a healthful and easy substitute. On top of that, I find the yogurt gives it a unique flavor. I like to pair it with lemon curd or berry compote.

Greek Yogurt Biscuits with Lemon Curd

Greek yogurt biscuits pair well with homemade lemon curd for a sweet treat or a summery breakfast.  (Detria Turner / Special to The Seattle Times)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15-18 minutes

Makes: 6 biscuits

BISCUITS

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • About 5 tablespoons (65 grams) butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 ¼ cups full-fat Greek yogurt — I like to keep it local and use my favorite, Ellenos!
  • 1 egg (optional)

Steps:

  1. Move the oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Cut all the butter into the flour. You can use a pastry cutter, two knives or a food processor. The final mixture should resemble sand with pebbles.
  4. Add Greek yogurt, ⅓ cup at a time, using a rubber spatula to fold yogurt into flour mixture. Gently fold until shaggy dough forms.
  5. Turn dough out onto a clean surface. Knead until it forms a solid dough. The key here is to work with the dough as little as possible. Once the dough is no longer dry, stop kneading or folding it. Not overworking the dough means light and fluffy biscuits.
  6. Gently pat the dough into a sheet that is 1-to-1.5-inches thick. Use a pint glass with cooking spray sprayed on the rim (or a 3-inch biscuit cutter) to stamp biscuits. Stamp out as many as you can before pulling away the scraps. You can reform scraps to make more biscuits. I like to keep them as strips to taste them and dip into the curd. Note: When stamping biscuits, be sure to firmly press down and pull directly up. Do not twist the cutter; this will make it harder for your biscuits to rise.
  7. Place biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; brush tops of biscuits with Greek yogurt (or whisked egg). Note: Biscuits shouldn’t be cooked on foil. You can use a silicone mat instead of parchment, or sprinkle an even layer of flour onto your baking sheet and place biscuits on top. 
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Biscuits should have browned bottoms and golden tops.

Tip: If you’re looking to add another layer of flavor, after the initial bake, try cutting open the biscuit, spreading butter on it, and grill for 2-5 minutes.

Lemon Curd

How do you tell when your lemon curd is ready to come off the stove? Dip a spoon into the curd. The curd should coat the back of the spoon, slightly clinging.  (Detria Turner / Special to The Seattle Times)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg and 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅛ cup lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Steps:

  1. Whisk eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan.
  2. Heat on medium to medium-low, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Keep on heat until the mixture reaches 165-170 degrees. If you don’t have a food thermometer, you can use a spoon. Dip the spoon in the curd; the curd should coat the back of the spoon, slightly clinging. If your curd does this, it’s done.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla.
  4. Sift curd through a fine-mesh strainer, for final silky lemon curd.
  5. Set aside and let cool. Serve on top of biscuits, enjoy with your favorite tea for a nice morning bite or a light dessert. You can also dollop some curd on ice cream or yogurt, or even dip shortbread cookies in it. 

Tip: To keep curd, store in an airtight container in fridge. Make sure your curd is cooled before sealing and refrigerating.