MAKES ABOUT 20
The recipe for these biscuits is based on one from Sunday Best Baking: Over a Century of Secrets from the White Lily Kitchen by Jeanne Voltz (Longstreet Press, 1998).
6 cups flour, preferably White lily flour
3 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. salt
6 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
6 tbsp. cold vegetable shortening
2 1⁄2 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 500°. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter, 2 table knives, or your fingers, work butter and shortening into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add 2 1⁄4 cups of buttermilk and gently stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a stiff, slightly tacky dough forms, adding a little more buttermilk if dough is too dry.
2. Transfer dough to a floured surface and quickly knead 2-3 times. Roll dough to a 1" thickness. Using a 2 1⁄2" round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits and set aside. Gather dough scraps together and repeat process, making 20 biscuits in all. Put biscuits on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet about 1⁄2" apart as they are formed. Bake biscuits until they have risen and turned golden brown on top, 10-12 minutes.
3. Serve biscuits hot, slathered with butter and⁄or with thin slices of Baked Country Ham, if you like.