Last week was biscuit week on the Great British Bake Off. We saw a selection of disasters and also some beautiful triumphs in the show-stopper gingerbread story challenge, as well as some extremely well-iced and flavoured biscuits (some clearly way too soft for Paul’s liking) in the signature bake.
Now ginger bread is something that I have already tackled…… I developed my own recipe suitable for house-building a couple of years ago. The gingerbread was delicious and perfectly spiced….. With Christmas coming up, you may find a good excuse to try it!
But it was the GBBO technical challenge….. to bake Viennese Whirls, which proved to be well…… quite challenging for some. It was clear that these little melt-in-the-mouth morsels filled with butter icing and jam are not as easy to make as Mr Kipling would have us believe.
So exactly how tricky would it be to make a gluten free version? I set out to test it!
My first attempt was a complete disaster….. I followed Mary Berry’s recipe to the letter, but with a straight replacement of gluten free flour….. Not good! Although the batter looked good and piped perfectly, no sooner was it in the oven, than it spread like a beige weed across the bottom of the baking tray. I continued to bake it through anyway, and although a little oily, we agreed in GF HQ that once scooped into a bowl, the crumbs would taste great sprinkled on ice creams and maybe even mixed into crumble topping!
To be honest, I sort of guessed that Mary’s recipe wouldn’t work with weight for weight substitutions, but I almost needed to test it to work out what I might need to try next to de-glutenise it.
Back at the drawing board, I re-worked the recipe to reduce the butter slightly, and increase the cornflour content. I also added a drop of vanilla and a little extra sugar as the additional flour upset the flavour balance.
Seems like these changes did the trick! My second batch of Viennese Whirls GF-stylie held well and were robust enough to (with care) jam, ice and sandwich! Sure they are a little fragile, but I got the impression from the GBBO that fragile was not in itself a ‘fail’. And hopefully Paul and Mary would be more than happy with my ‘definition’!
Having had many a gluten-version of Viennese Whirls in my earlier life, I can be proud of my efforts….. I may have made the biscuits slightly larger than I intended and perhaps over-jammed and iced them (both problems which are easily rectified), but they sure do melt in the mouth and taste just as I remember them…… (although as I get older, my tooth appears to be losing some of its sweetness, and next time I make them, I may well forgo the jam and butter cream and just dip them in chocolate instead).
However you choose to embellish them, if you are gluten free, fear not….. you too can eat Viennese Biscuits!
I am sharing my gluten free Viennese Whirls with the following linkies :
Cook Blog Share…. This week with Hijacked by Twins
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Given that this is a biscuit I grew up with, I am also sharing with Inheritance Recipes (this month with Coffee & Vanilla (and Pebble Soup)). It was great to be able to share one of my childhood favourites with Miss GF….
Free From Fridays with the very talented Emma at the Free From Farmhouse
#TheFoodCalendar with Charlottes Lively Kitchen. These would make a perfect sweet offering for a Macmillan Coffee Morning. What will you bake for yours on the 30th September?
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma
Viennese Whirls (makes about 10 sandwiched biscuits)
240g unsalted butter – softened
Butter Icing filling
100g unsalted butter – softened
200g icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry/Raspberry or other jam
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. Base line 3 baking sheets with baking paper.
- Cream together the butter and icing sugar (preferably using an electric whisk or food mixer) until well-blended, very pale and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and flours and continue to beat until the mixture has become a very smooth, pale paste.
- Using a large star nozzle, pipe the mixture into even-sized whirls on the trays, leaving a gap between them.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown, turning the trays half-way through to ensure an even bake. Keep a close eye on them to ensure they don’t burn.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays.
- Whilst the biscuits are cooling, make the icing-filling : Beat the butter and then gradually add the icing sugar and vanilla extract until you have a smooth, soft icing.
- Once the biscuits have cooled completely, use a palette knife to very carefully loosen the biscuits from the baking paper and then very gently (they will be quite fragile) lay half of them, swirled side down on a clean sheet of baking paper.
- Transfer a few spoons of jam into a bowl, and stir vigorously to loosen (if the jam is very thick, it may benefit from a few seconds in the microwave to warm slightly).
- Use a teaspoon to drop a small dollop of jam in the centre of each of the upturned biscuits and with the back of the spoon, very gently spread the jam towards the edges.
- Using a large star nozzle, pipe a swirl of butter icing on top of the jam of each biscuit and then very carefully take a second biscuit and place it on top to make a sandwich. Although you can very gently ease the top biscuit down, do not squeeze too hard or the biscuits may break.
- Serve with a hot cup of tea and enjoy. (They also taste great with some fresh raspberries on the side!)