This week on the Bake Off it was biscuit week. I think everyone loves a good biscuit. Especially with a cup of tea (I’m sounding very British right about now). It might not be everyone’s taste but I love to dunk my biscuits in my tea; I know Paul Hollywood would be with me on this one.
This weeks technical challenge was Vienesse Whirls, which I have to admit aren’t usually my biscuit of choice. Sure, they’re nice and I do like one every now and then, but I would choose a whole other variety of biscuit over these ones.
This was a bit of a disaster from the start. I was confused as to why there was no liquid (not even the tiniest bit) in the mixture, so it went very very dry. As it had to be piped through a medium star nozzle to get that Whirl effect, I found it near impossible to do this.
Whilst trying to pipe semi-presentable round whirls the following happened: a) the piping bag I was using burst through the pressure applied when trying to expel the mixture, b) the mixture was so dry it wouldn’t stick, so the rounds kept breaking apart, and c) the mixture appeared to go firmer the more I tried to expel it, so by the end it looked more like a bread dough.
I’m clearly not destined for baking greatness.
Eventually I gave up on trying to get whirled biscuits, and instead just rolled them into balls and shaped them by hand. They may not have had the traditional whirl, but at least they looked more appetising.
They actually baked really well, and still had the same taste and texture as a Vienesse whirl despite not having the same appearance. I thought I may have added too much flour in the beginning (despite following the recipe exactly) but they turned out fine.
Whilst the biscuits were cooling I made the jam. I actually used Strawberries instead of the traditional raspberry, as I had a load of strawberries in my fridge from a pick-your-own I did recently. No problems here; jam is straightforward to make so even I can’t mess it up.
My next issue came with the buttercream icing. I don’t know what it is, but for whatever reason, no matter what recipes I use for buttercream icing it always separates and melts. I try adding more icing sugar, but it just never works for me. The icing always starts off fine, but when I come to apply it it always goes sloppy. (And before anyone asks, yes the biscuits were 100% cooled before I decorated them).
Overall, the biscuits looked a complete mess. I can wholeheartedly agree that this whole process did not go well, and the look of the finished product is a testament to that. However, they tasted bloody gorgeous! They may not have looked like a traditional Vienesse whirl, but they definitely taste like one!
The recipe is below, so please have a go yourself. Let me know where I went wrong, too!
Next week is bread week, so I’ll see you then!
Mary’s Vienesse Whirls
For the jam
- 200g raspberries
- 250g jam sugar
For the biscuits
- 250g very soft unsalted butter
- 50g icing sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 25g cornflour
For the filling
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 – For the jam, place the raspberries in a small deep-sided saucepan and crush them with a masher. Add the sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container. Leave to cool and chill to set.
2 – For the biscuits, preheat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5. Line 3 baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment and using a 4cm round cutter as a guide, draw 8 circles on each sheet of paper, spaced well apart. Turn the paper over so the pencil marks are underneath.
3 – Measure the butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat well until pale and fluffy. Sieve in the flour and cornflour and beat well, until thoroughly mixed.
4 – Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle. Pipe 24 swirled rounds (not rosettes), inside the circles on the baking sheets.
5 – Bake in the centre of the oven for 13-15 minutes, until a pale golden-brown colour. Cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool and harden.
6 – For the filling, measure the butter into a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Add the vanilla extract and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until very light and smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
7 – Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of 12 of the biscuits and place jam-side up on a cooling rack. Pipe the buttercream over the jam and sandwich with the remaining biscuits. Dust with icing sugar to decorate.