What’s for Breakfast: Apple and Ham Biscuits

Amy Pennington shares a recipe

what's for breakfast!

Last week your child’s blood sugar level was as unspoiled as the Garden of Eden. Tomorrow she’ll wake in a zombielike haze — thanks to that trick-or-treat bag of forbidden fruit.

Prep an antidote in the form of a sturdy, seasonal breakfast recipe from Amy Pennington. The slow-food chef and urban farmer just released a new cookbook devoted entirely to apples — packed with healthy, unexpected ways to entice kids and adults with Honeycrisps, Winesaps, Golden Delicious, and the like.

One of our favorites, apple and ham biscuits, serves up sugar-balancing protein (lean ham, optional eggs) in a warm, apple-flecked sandwich. It’s equally special as a fall weekend treat or, baked ahead of time, a grab-and-go snack for when everyone’s on the run.

Traditional flaky biscuits are made with nonfat yogurt and can be split and filled with a slice of ham and even a cooked egg. My sister has five children under the age of 11, and this combo is a popular breakfast — the kids can put them together themselves and even warm them in the microwave.

what's for breakfast!

Apple and Ham Biscuits
Makes twelve to fifteen biscuits

Note: The secret to perfect biscuits is handling the dough as little as possible. It might seem like they will fall apart easily, but that’s what you’re going for.

1 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 1 tbsp. for ham
2 c. diced apples (Pennington recommends Sonata, Winesap, or Golden Delicious)
4 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for your counter
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1 c. cold plain yogurt
⅓ c. cold water
1½ pounds ham steak, cut into 12 equal pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare the biscuits, add 1 tbsp. butter to a medium saute pan and set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted completely, add the apple and cook until just soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked apples to a plate in a single layer and move to the fridge to cool quickly and completely.

3. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pulse a few times to blend well. Open the top of the processor and scatter the butter cubes evenly over the surface of the flour mixture. Close and pulse about 30 times, until the dough resembles coarse crumbs. Open the top of the processor and scatter the cooled apples over the surface.

4. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and water, stirring until blended. While simultaneously pulsing the food processor, add the yogurt mixture through the top until the dough just starts to come together, about another 30 times. The dough will blend itself into 2 or 3 large portions.

5. Flour your countertop liberally, adding a spoonful to your hands to prevent sticking, and turn the dough out onto the counter. Using your palms, push together the large portions of dough, forming a single mass. Turn and form a rectangular block by pushing in the opposite sides of the dough. Do not knead.

6. Flour a rolling pin, and roll out the dough to about a ¾-inch thickness, working from the center. Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter or straight-edged drinking glass, cut as many biscuits as possible and place on a baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between biscuits. Any leftover dough can be pushed into a rectangle and recut into more biscuits.

7. Bake until the biscuits just start to brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

8. While the biscuits are cooling, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts, place as many ham slices as you can fit into a single layer and sear on one side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and continue cooking in this fashion until all the ham is browned.

9. To serve, split the biscuits in half and add a warm ham slice to each.

Apples is available at amazon.com, $16.

Photos: Olivia Brent-Fielding / Courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin