Recipe Number One Hundred & Eighty Two: Page 224.
As it was Easter weekend I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make these biscuits. Unfortunately I didn't get to make them on Easter Sunday as I had planned as I did not have the required currants. When checking my parents' food cupboard a few days earlier, I'd mistaken a packet of raisins for currants! I had to wait until the following day when I knew the shops would be re-opening their doors.
The day didn't start off showing much promise. It was persistently raining and my poor mum was in bed with a nasty virus. I hoped that a batch of home made biscuits might help to brighten the day! I usually find that a spot of baking helps to cheer the soul.
I was certainly off to a good start as the butter had been left on the kitchen worktop overnight and was suitably soft. When I added the caster sugar I only required the assistance of a wooden spoon to beat it together. Working with such soft butter was something of a novelty as I rarely remember to take it out of the fridge! It really made life a great deal easier. Once the combined butter and sugar had become light and fluffy I was ready to beat in a single egg yolk. I had discarded the egg white before my brain had a chance to engage. As I watched it trickle down the plug hole I remembered that I needed the whites later for the glaze. Whoops! It was lucky that I had some eggs left, so it wasn't the end of the world! The next job was to weigh the plain flour and spices. As I attempted to sieve the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl I developed a sneezing fit. I'm not sure if it was due to the whiff of the spices or the dust from the flour, but I had to stop and step away from the bowl. I counted seven sneezes, not a personal record but impressive all the same!
Once recovered from the exhausting sneezing marathon, I moved on to adding the small amount of chopped mixed peel and the all important currants. I stirred the dried fruit into the relatively dry mixture and then brought it together with a little milk. To create the required soft dough I found that I needed the full quantity of milk. The resulting dough was lovely and soft and also manageable to work with. It did stick a little to the worktop when I rolled it out, but nothing an extra dusting of flour couldn't sort out. Mary says to roll out to a thickness of a quarter of an inch. I was sure to measure the thickness of the dough as I usually end up with biscuits that are either too thick or too thin; I never get it just right. I was worried that my dough was too thick, but carried on regardless and cut out circles using a fluted cutter. Mary says to use a two and half inch cutter or make the biscuits larger if desired. My circles of dough measured three inches across and, after cutting out six biscuits, I had already used up half my dough. It was obvious that I wasn't going to make anywhere near the suggested 24 biscuits! After this, I rolled the dough a little thinner and managed a grand total of 14!
I placed two trays of biscuits into the pre heated oven. While they cooked for just under ten minutes I had time to crack another egg and place the white into a glass ready for use. For the second time I retrieved the caster sugar from the kitchen cupboard. The little pastry brush I found had perhaps seen better days, but I felt sure that it would do the job! I whipped one tray from the oven and, as quickly as I could, brushed over the egg white before sprinkling with a little caster sugar. Despite it only taking around a minute to complete my mission, when I returned the tray to the oven for another few minutes the second tray of biscuits looked burnt. Oh dear! I went ahead and glazed and sugared them anyway but made sure that I put them back in the oven on the lower shelf.
Despite spending four minutes in a very hot enclosed space the sugar on top of the biscuits remained unchanged. I couldn't understand why it hadn't melted! I quickly slid the cooked biscuits from the trays and onto a wire rack to cool. The thicker biscuits definitely appeared to come off best as their thinner friends were a little too brown for my liking!
Half an hour later and I was armed with a cup of tea in one hand and a biscuit in the other. I'd gone for the thicker variety; it made for a delicious mouthful! It was crisp and crumbly with a gorgeous kick of spice. I'm not a huge fan of mixed peel but I felt that it really had its place here. Again, I'm not overly fond of currants but they suited a delicate biscuit such as this. I liked how easy these biscuits were to make. They went from mixing bowl to plate nice and quickly, which was a definite bonus!
When presented with these pretty Easter biscuits you can't help feeling a little lifted. I hope that the scent of baking wafted up to my mum's bedroom and helped lift her spirits. I'm on strict instructions to save some for when she is feeling better. She would hate to miss out!
|My super-sized Easter biscuits!|