So many people have problems with raisins, I began to think that I didn’t like them. But that’s crazy, I love them.
My love was unexpectedly affirmed shortly before Halloween when Bryan and I stopped by Hoosier Mama (the best pie shop in the world) to buy a pie. They had a sour cream and apple pie that looked amazing and seemed like the obvious choice. But for some reason I told Bryan he could pick. He picked a funeral pie which I found out was an Amish raisin pie (Hoosier Mama’s version had a healthy dose of rum). I spent the rest of the day asking Bryan: What kind of weirdo picks a raisin pie?! Well, you can see where this is going. Pie in my face. The funeral pie was incredible and it got me thinking about raisins.
I think part of their problem is that raisins get put in stupid places, like brownies and oatmeal cookies. When I was a kid there was a bakery near our house that sold Pac-Man shaped donuts complete with a bright yellow glaze. They were rad. The problem was they used a raisin for the eye. WTF? Why not a chocolate chip? So, every time I got one of those donuts I would start by savagely gouging out the Pac-Man’s eye and throwing it in the garbage. I now wonder how many raisins were thrown in the garbage of that bakery by annoyed kids.
It wasn’t the raisin’s fault.
Enter this totally amazing recipe. Seriously, this one is really special. It is from the recently published Rustic Italian Food by Marc Vetri and David Joachim. While many recipes in the book look good (although, honestly, not so easy for the home cook), this simple biscuit recipe stood out. It is a strange one. You mix the batter on the stove top, heating it gently. The egg white heavy batter is then spread into a pan and baked. After baking, you cut it into rectangles and (here comes the magic!) toast them with a little butter. The toasting transforms them into something really quite special and a perfect showcase for raisins. They are totally buttery and delightful.
It is a great recipe for this weekend or any weekend you have friends and family around. Bake the biscuits before guests arrive and then whenever you want to sit down for a snack and a cup of tea you can toast up a few of these.
Happy thanksgiving, everyone! I hope it is a great weekend.
Toasted Raisin Biscuits (adapted from Rustic Italian Food)
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)unsalted butter, softened, plus more for toasting
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 13×9-inch baking pan.
Cream the 3/4 cup butter and the confectioners’ sugar in a large saucepan with a wooden spoon. gently warm the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring in the egg whites, flour and salt. Do not let the mixture simmer. Remove from the heat and fold in the raisins. Immediately scrape the thick mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake until the top looks dry and the edges are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Prick the biscuit all over with a fork about halfway through baking to prevent it from puffing up.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into 1 1/2 by 3-inch rectangles. To serve, melt a little butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the rectangles and toast until both sides are browned, 1 to 2 minutes, adding butter as needed.
You can keep the un-toasted biscuits (well wrapped) for up to 4 days. Toast as needed.