Virginia Ham Sandwiches with Apple Butter and Sweet Potato Biscuits

Several guests recorded accounts of breakfast at Monticello. One visitor in particular, Mrs. Margaret Bayard Smith, wrote wonderfully detailed notes about her time spent at Monticello. Concerning breakfast, Mrs. Smith wrote: “Our breakfast table was as large as our dinner table…we had tea, coffee, excellent muffins, hot wheat and corn bread, cold ham and butter.” Katy Woods, local food blogger and former Monticello intern, shares this delicious taste of Thomas Jefferson’s table.

Smithfield Country Ham Slices (2 lbs) ham sandwich

Monticello Apple Butter


Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 cup canned sweet potatoes

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup  chilled cream cheese

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup Monticello Hickory Syrup

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment. With a food processor or a stick blender, blend flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

2. Add butter and cream cheese and pulse to a course meal. Add potato, buttermilk, and syrup. Process to blend. Add nuts and pulse to blend.

3. Roll out dough on a piece of parchment paper. Cut into 16 biscuits. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place biscuits at least 2 inches apart. Cook at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes. Let cool.

4. Cut biscuits in half. Place two to three slices of ham onto bottom slice of the biscuit. Top with apple butter and serve.


MonticelloRecipe_BlogKaty Woods is in her fourth year at the University of Virginia, where she studies psychology. Though always an avid foodie, it was not until Katy came to UVa that she fell in love with the local food movement. Through an internship at Monticello during her third year at UVa, Katy was inspired by Jefferson’s ingenuity to cultivate crops and introduce French cuisine to the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century. Since this experience, Katy has demonstrated Jefferson-era recipes for the Heritage Harvest Festival and continued to adapt Monticello classics for modern cooks.  Katy plans to stay in the Charlottesville, VA area after college.

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