best biscuits and The Purity Cookbook

We’ve been making this recipe since forever. Sourced from my mom’s original high school home-economics cookbook — stained, tattered and busting out from its coil binding — these biscuits evoke fond memories of home and grandparents (remind me to track down that recipe for orange raisin muffins as well). 

The Purity Cookbook originally published in 1917 has been revamped over the decades with the 1967 Centennial edition re-issued by Whitecap Books in 2001.  The re-issue has an endorsement from Jean Paré — the Canadian cooking equivelant of Glen Scrimshaw — but don’t let that deter you. It is full of old timey recipes and quaint (and at times humourous) tips.  Cop that shit. Most often referred to for traditional cookie, biscuit, bread and butter tart recipes… here is the biscuit recipe ver batim:

A tea biscuit dough should be soft but not sticky. A little kneading improves the quality of the biscuits, but should be done with a gentle touch as too much handling tends to make them tough.

Tea Biscuits, BASIC RECIPE

Preheat oven to 450F
Blend or sift together
     2 cups Pre-Sifted PURITY All-Purpose Flour
     4 teaspoons baking powder
     1 teaspoon salt
Cut in finely
     1/3 cup shortening
Add
     3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
Stir with a fork to make a soft dough.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll or pat to desired thickness, (biscuits will be doubled in height when baked). Cut out with a floured cutter.

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet, close together for soft-sided biscuits or about 1″ apart for crusty-sided biscuits.
Bake in preheated 450F oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
Yield: 18 to 20 – 1 3/4″ biscuits.

5 Comments

  1. Colin says:

    They look exactly like the ones my mom makes–probably from the same recipe!

    How does The Purity Cookbook compare to The Joy of Cooking?

  2. David says:

    Until i got married the only cookbook i owned was the Purity Cookbook that my mom gave me when i moved out. The Joy of Cooking is bigger and better, but they’re both classics.

  3. Todd says:

    Forgot to mention the small left over dough bits can be made into “Dog Turds”

  4. Troy says:

    so true! This time I made the left over bits into a crust for my shepard’s pie!

  5. […] I put together a creamy chicken stew with shitake mushrooms and garden vegetables. A batch of biscuits upped the ante and sparked a three day feeding […]

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