These biscuits feel familiar enough to be a part of a classic spread, but different enough to seem exciting. Corn masa has no gluten, so the biscuits are especially tender, with a delicate corn flavor (though this recipe is not gluten free). Slather with butter and your favorite jam, or maybe even some of the cranberry relish.

  • 3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling on work surface
  • 1½ cups masa harina
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (¼ pound) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into about a dozen small pieces
  • ½ cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 2 cups cold buttermilk

Makes a dozen 3-inch biscuits

  1. Position 2 baking racks in upper and middle thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Buzz together in food processor 3. cups flour, masa, baking powder, and salt. Scatter butter over dry ingredients, then buzz again, just enough that butter disappears. Add lard and blend in with a few pulses. Pour in buttermilk and pulse a few more times until just incorporated, and a soft crumble dough is formed.
  3. Sprinkle work surface with about 1 tablespoon flour. Turn dough out, gather it into ball, and knead briefly, only until it just holds together (a dough scraper helps with this). Flatten dough into a round several inches thick, and dust top with sprinkling of additional flour. Using rolling pin, roll out dough to a round 1 inch thick. With biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter, slice down through dough to form biscuits. On 2 baking sheets, arrange biscuits at least 2 inches apart. Lightly pat remaining scraps of dough into a round 1 inch thick and cut into more biscuits.
  4. Bake biscuits about 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Halfway through baking time, switch positions of sheets in oven, from top to bottom and from front to back. Serve biscuits warm.

High-Altitude Note: Reduce baking powder by 1 teaspoon and add 1 more tablespoon buttermilk to dough.