Sorry – it’s been a little healthy, healthy, ME ME ME around here recently. You’ve probably been missing your naughty treats fix, so as promised have something a little bit naughty.
My favourite kind of naughty – Biscuits.
Last year I got a little (read that a lot) obsessed with Masterchef Australia. Having never really got on with the UK version, I was bowled over by how informative and friendly it was compared to ours. Yes, it has been criticised for going on forever and having contestants suddenly spring up from nowhere. But for all these reasons, I loved it. The spread out format was perfect for me, I work from home (have I rubbed that in your noses enough yet!) and having my daily hour of Masterchef gave me a little bit of structure. Also I fell head-over heels for Alice Zaslavsky with her massive Deirdre glasses and her bear tackle hugs!
I can’t remember ever feeling inspired to make anything from the UK version, don’t get me wrong – I’d want to eat it but it would never feel like something that I could make at home. Of course Masterchef Australia had it’s fair share of complicated recipes – anyone for a Snow Egg or Eight-Texture Chocolate Cake ? But there were also many approachable recipes too. One of the recipes I knew I had to try was Julia’s Melting Moments and I am very glad I did.
The biscuits are pretty similar to Custard Creams but improved (in my opinion) and made easier – the dough is rolled it to balls, completely eliminating the need to roll out pastry (and it getting stuck to the pin & surface) and cutting out rounds (which get misshapen when you try to unstick them from the surface)
There are some who argue that these can not be ‘Melting Moments’ as they contain jam, which makes them a ‘Monte Carlo’ but whatever they are, they are delicious and impressive – always a plus from your biscuit.
360g / 12oz unsalted butter – softened
120g / 4oz icing sugar
120g / 4oz custard powder
2 tsp baking powder
360g / 12oz plain flour
250g / 9oz fresh or frozen raspberries
250g / 9oz golden caster sugar
juice of ½ a lemon
½ tsp gelatine powder (I use Vege-gel)
200g / 7oz unsalted butter – softened
1 vanilla pod or 3 tsp vanilla bean paste
250g / 9oz icing sugar
To make the biscuits – cream together the butter, icing sugar and custard powder.
Sift in the baking powder & flour and mix until a dough is formed, being careful to not overwork it. You can do this by hand or using a machine – whichever is easiest for you.
Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes - Heat the oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas mark 4 and line two baking trays.
To make the jam – place the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook until thickened, about 20-30 minutes.
In a small bowl mix the gelatine powder with a tablespoon of water – until smooth.
Remove the fruit from the heat and stir in the gelatine mixture – put in a heatproof bowl, cover and chill in the fridge until needed.
Take the dough out of the fridge and pinch off 15g at a time and roll into balls, place on the baking trays – an inch apart and press down with the back of a fork.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden – remove from the oven, leave on the trays for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
To make the buttercream – beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla and set aside.
To assemble – once the biscuits are cooled pipe the buttercream on to one half, spoon a blob of jam on the other half and sandwich together.
You could dust them with icing sugar if you fancied OR you could just stand by the work top and eat all of them up. (You’ll want to eat all of them up)
If you were feeling romantic (for some unknown reason *cough* Valentines *cough*) you could at the point of rolling them into balls, play about a bit and make them heart-shaped. This is an untried suggestion but it might just work!