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Week Two on Great British Bake Off and our 11 bakers have moved on to biscuits. Try as I might I can’t get very enthusiastic about biscuits. Not that I am not enthusiastic about eating them you understand… I just don’t jump up and down about making them.
As part of my #GBBO Bake Along I had to tackle savoury biscuits and since I am currently on holiday in Greece I had to bake them without any scales or measuring cups (that is actually an interesting baking exercise). Luckily I had practiced the recipes beforehand. With the aid of the Magimix they are super easy to throw together but they can also be made by hand.
Inspiration for the recipes came from my mother’s The Good Cook Biscuits book which was published in 1982 but contains recipes sourced from early cookbooks. And here I have the formula for winning Great British Bake Off. Find the entire Time Life Good Cook series (there’s a book for Cakes, Confectionery, Bread, Desserts and so on) and master the techniques and recipes. You will need about a year to practice. Do that and nothing will phase you – especially since it seems that the producers of GBBO frequently look to the past for the technical challenges. If anyone wants to borrow my copies send me an email : )
If you are baking along to the Great British Bake Off come and link your recipes! I will keep the linky open until the show ends (in October). Please grab the badge and link back so that others can find it. Comments are very welcome and I have created a dedicated Pinterest Board to share the entries on. Tweet me your entries (@supergolden88) and I will RT. Scroll to bottom of post for linky.
Thick Parmesan Biscuits
Apparently this recipe comes form The Cookery Book of Lady Clark of Tillypronie c.1909. The biscuits are crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth cheesy bites of goodness.
60g | 2 oz grated Parmesan
60g | 2 oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
125g | 4oz plain flour
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
In a food processor: pulse the butter and flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the cheese and pulse briefly. Add the egg yolk and seasoning and pulse until dough starts to come together. If it is too crumbly add ice water a few drops at a time.
By hand: Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together. If dough is too crumbly add ice water a few drops at a time.
– Gather dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
– Preheat the oven to 170C | 325F.
– Roll out the dough to 1cm (1/2 inch) thickness and cut into small rounds. Transfer on to a large tray lined with baking paper. Bake in centre of the oven for 20 minutes.
Sesame seed wafers
These are quite addictive and excellent with cheese and dips. To make by hand use a pastry blender or two knives to chop the butter into the flour.
75g | 2 1/2 oz sesame seeds
250g | 8oz plain flour, sifted
200g | 7oz cold unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp caraway seeds, ground to a powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp ice water
1. Dry fry the sesame seeds in a frying pan until golden. Set aside.
2. Put the flour and seasonings in the bowl of your food processor. Add 175 (6oz) of the butter, cut into cubes, and pulse briefly until butter is pea sized.
3. Add the water and pulse until dough comes together.
4. Roll out the dough to 1cm (1/2 inch) thickness on a lightly floured worktop. Soften the remaining butter and spread over the dough.
5. Fold the dough into thirds as you would when making puff pastry. Press down to seal the edges. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 180C | 350F.
7. Roll the dough out again to 1cm (1/2 inch) thickness on a large pice of baking paper. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and roll them lightly into the dough.
8. Cut the dough into long strips or diamonds using a sharp knife. Transfer the paper onto a large tray and bake for 15-20 minutes.