Friday, 12 December 2008

Viennese fancies

Viennese fancies are one of my favourite biscuits and I've been saying for ages I should try making some but haven't got round to it. Then I saw some mince-pies topped with them and decided that they looked too good not to try and replicate GF.

If you haven't come across Viennese fancies they are a buttery whirl shaped biscuit, you normally get two sandwiched together with jam or jam and buttercream and sometimes half dipped in chocolate.

The various recipes I've found always have the same amount of flour and butter and a smaller amount of sugar however the exact proportions vary so I went with one which had a smaller amount of sugar. Also many recipes use half cornflour and half plain flour which makes it more likely that GF flour will work (why didn't I look at this recipe earlier??) The biscuit is meant to be very short and crumbly.

So I made up a small batch (which then got even smaller when I dropped about 1/3 of it on the floor !) Still it was enough to make 4 complete biscuits ie 8 halves. To try them out I sandwiched them with a little jam as my main plan is to use them as a mince pie topping not in the traditional way.. at least for now.. chocolate dipped ones may happen at some point too!

They worked pretty well so now I need to decide on the pastry base. I've seen them with a standard shortcrust but also found a recipe for Viennese topped ones using a shortbread crust. Watch here for the second instalment ie the mince pies themselves.
Viennese Fancies

3 ounces (75g) butter
1 ounce (25g) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
3 ounces (75g) GF flour
Few drops vanilla essence
Strawberry jam (for filling)
Pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar and vanilla essence together until it is light and fluffy.

Sieve flour and salt together then add to the creamed mixture gradually. Beat well after each addition until the mixture is smooth.

Using a big star pipe, pipe stars of approximately 1¼ inch (3cm) diameter and no more than 1/8th inch (6mm) high onto a baking/cookie sheet on a baking tray . Or pipe short lengths of dough. The mix is quite stiff so the piping end needs to be a big open one such as you designed for biscuits or potato not an traditional icing one.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the middle shelf of a preheated oven at 375F (190C or Gas Mark 5). Be careful you want to catch them just before they start colouring.. mine went slightly too brown round the edges but this is a biscuit you want to be pale not browned.

Spread a small amount of strawberry jam between the flat sides of two "whirls" to make them stick together. Dust with icing sugar or dip about a third of each Viennese fancy (with jam between them) in chocolate which has been melted slowly in a bowl heated in hot water.

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