Light, rich biscuits outlast Garden Court


POSTED: Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Once upon a time, the old Garden Court restaurant at Liberty House in Ala Moana Center was the ideal place for ladies who lunched. Or brunched.

I've received frequent requests—usually from ladies—for the Garden Court's biscuits, which I never had the pleasure to consume, but which seem to have legions of devoted fans.

My baking buddy, Susy Kawamoto, a devoted recipe collector and frequent solver of “;By Request”; mysteries, found this recipe in her files. She says she cut it out of a newspaper long ago.

This recipe calls for a lot of butter and a lot of baking powder, for richness and lightness together. The original made a LOT of biscuits, so I've reduced it by a quarter, as well as expanded on the instructions a bit for home use.

Biscuits are a simple baking project, but I suspect the cooks at the Garden Court mastered their technique so that the end result was out of the ordinary. The trick would be in handling the dough gently to keep the biscuits light.

The original recipe did not specify what kind of baking pan to use. I opted for a round cake pan, which gives you wedge-shaped biscuits. You could also cut them into individual round biscuits.

One final note: By happy accident, when I made my first batch, I accidentally put in too much sugar—a quarter cup instead of 2 tablespoons (I was dividing the recipe in my head and math is always a dicey thing with me). But I actually liked this sweeter version better.

If you plan to serve your biscuits with honey or jam, maybe you don't need the extra sweetness, but I offer the suggestion for those who'd like to experiment.


Liberty House Garden Court Biscuits

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons softened butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round baking pan.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse sand.

Beat egg and milk together and add to flour mixture. Mix gently to moisten all ingredients. Do not overmix. If batter is dry, add a little more milk.

Form dough into ball and turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly while forming dough into a circle.

Roll with a rolling pin until about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Place dough in prepared pan and score through with a floured knife to form 8 wedges. Brush top with egg/water mixture.

Bake about 20 minutes, until golden on top and cooked through in the center. Break biscuits apart and serve hot or warm.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 110 calories, 6 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 450 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 1 g sugar, 2 g protein.