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Proust may have had his madeleines but, if you are British, nothings brings back memories faster than a biting into a Party Ring, Custard Cream or Jammy Dodger. I know, I know, I have left out Bourbon Creams – don’t all shout at once! This is deliberate on my part as I am hoping to post a Bourbon recipe on a separate post. I am not part of this biscuit nostalgia by the way – I grew up in Greece – but my two children were immensely excited when I received a pack of Dexam Classic British Biscuit Cutters to review.
When it comes to baking I am a firm believer that homemade is best, so I was curious to put the set of four cutters to the test. They each echo the design of the classic biscuits, down to the small intricate details, and I must admit was a little dubious as to whether they would work. But work they did – and really well despite my legendary impatience when it comes to ‘fiddly’ baking. The iced party rings were the least successful because I rushed to photograph them before the glaze was completely set. But such imperfections didn’t worry my children who were literally standing behind the tripod while I was photographing them until I bribed them with a few biscuits to ‘go away already and let me photograph this please’.
The custard creams are actually strawberry creams – I had some leftover strawberry buttercream which would have been a shame to waste. But everything else was pretty authentic – less perfect but significantly fresher and tastier than their shop-bought counterparts. The most important step was to dust the cutters with flour and chill the dough so that the design would imprint well. This was a bit tricky to achieve on a warm day and I found I had to chill the dough once it was rolled out, sandwiched between layers of baking paper. Next time I am going to have fun trying out some different flavours and spices – but first I need to make the Bourbon Creams of course. I am rather partial to them : )
I used the same basic biscuit dough to make all three biscuits but you can find individual recipes for all four biscuits on the Dexam website via a downloadable PDF. Use your favourite buttercream recipe to fill the custard creams or invest in some custard powder to make the original flavour. I did go on a custard powder hunt but my corner shops (usually so reliable) let me down!
Basic biscuit dough
100g | 3.5oz cool unsalted butter, cubed
100g | 3.5oz sugar
200g | 7oz plain flour, plus more to roll out dough
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
seedless raspberry jam to fill the Jammy Dodgers
Party rings glaze
icing (powdered) sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
boiling water as needed
gel food colourings
200g | 7oz icing (powdered) sugar
100g | 3.5oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1-2 tbsp strawberry syrup or cordial (replace with custard powder)
small amount pink food colouring (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubed butter and briefly rub with your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix it in with a knife. Tip the dough on your worktop and quickly gather together into a ball. Add a little more flour if it is very sticky and try not to overwork it. Flatten to a disk, cover with clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line two large trays with baking paper.
- Lay a large piece of baking paper on your worktop and dust with a little flour. Roll the dough out until 5mm thick (1/4 inch). If it becomes too soft, cover with baking paper and return to the fridge until cool.
- Dust the cutters with flour and dust off any excess. Place cutter on the dough and press down to cut the basic shape. Depress the central button on cutter to imprint the design and release the dough from the mould. Repeat until you have used up all the dough, gathering any scraps and rolling out again. Cut the central hole using the the separate cutters supplied and make sure you cut an even number of biscuits for the custard creams and jammy dodgers.
- Place on the prepared trays, spaced slightly apart. Bake for 12–15minutes – keep an eye on the biscuits and remove from the oven when the edges just start to colour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the buttercream, beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Add a little strawberry syrup and a small amount of food colouring if you like.
- Fill the jammy dodgers with a little seedless raspberry jam and sandwich together. Do the same with the custard creams using the buttercream filling of choice.
- Create a thick but pourable glaze for the iced rings by mixing sifted icing sugar with hot water and a little lemon juice. I haven’t given the exact proportions as it will depend on how many biscuits you are icing – a full batch requires 300g (10.5oz) icing sugar.
- Put a small amount of the glaze in a separate bowl and tint with a contrasting colour (I used pink). You could create many different coloured glazes if you like.
- Place the rings on a wire rack set over baking paper (to catch the drips). Spread a ring with the white glaze and then pipe three parallel lines over the iced biscuit in the contrasting colour. Working quickly, pull a cocktail stick through the icing to feather it.You have to ice and feather the rings as you go – if you ice them all first the glaze will set before you can feather the colour!
- Leave the iced rings to dry completely before serving.
Disclosure: I received a set of Dexam Classic British Biscuit cutters for review purposes. All opinions are my own. The image below is an affiliate Amazon link – I receive a small percentage of sales, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog!