A couple of weeks ago, we featured the recipe for Refried Black-Eyed Peas from Chef Eddie Hernandez, one of the chefs invited to the 2010 Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi. This week, just in time for Christmas, we're serving up the recipe for Yam Biscuits from New York's Yewande Komolafe. Yewande is a native of Lagos, Nigeria, and currently works as a pastry chef, food stylist, and recipe tester. She has also spent some time working in Baltimore, Maryland and Atlanta, Georgia - she claims Atlanta as her home away from home!

Yewande's Yam Biscuits were made for the White Lily-sponsored breakfast, and were intended to showcase how true African yams, though quite different from what is commonly referred to as yams in grocery stores in the U.S., can be adapted for use in Southern recipes. In keeping with the "Global South" theme of the Symposium, these biscuits are a delicious blend of African and Southern cuisine.

Yam Biscuits
Makes 6 Biscuits

2 med yams

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a fork, poke holes all over the yams and wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45mins to 1hr until a toothpick or a fork goes right through. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel the skin off and mash the yams. Leave slightly chunky.

1½ cups mashed yams
2 Tbs packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, cold (4 oz)
2 ½ c White Lily All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbs Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp Baking Soda
½ cup cold buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar, use a whisk to fully incorporate. Add in the cold butter and using your fingers, break apart the butter pieces and incorporate into the rest of the ingredients until pea size pieces form.

Add in the mashed yams and the cold buttermilk. Use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, pat into a single mass and roll out 1” thick.

Using a 2¼” round cookie cutter, cut out rounds from the dough and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reroll the scraps and cut out more biscuits until all the dough is used up. Add a little water to the beaten egg and brush the tops of the rolled biscuits with the egg wash.

Place in the oven and bake till golden brown, 15 – 20mins. Serve while still warm with a hot pepper jelly and some country ham or a smoked sock sausage.

Photo by Hyun Kim