The ninth day of Christmas; dancing girls and Viennese whirls

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing.

Viennese whirls

I do enjoy watching a good Viennese waltz on Strictly Come Dancing; this classic ballroom dance is elegant and graceful and it takes a delicate touch to perfect.

On day nine of our song the ladies are dancing and for me Viennese whirls – little bites of sweet buttery biscuit and jam – have waltzed away as the obvious choice for today’s recipe.

Before proceeding though I must admit to having a disastrous encounter with the piping bag; my Viennese whirls lack the finesse I had envisaged and are more lairy ladies than Mr Kipling’s dainty dolls, but they still taste delicious.

PS If you try this recipe and succeed with piping the whirls, please share your tips as this isn’t the first time I’ve resorted to forking biscuit dough!

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Viennese whirls

Ingredients

For the biscuits

This makes 12-15 whirls, but remember you will need two biscuits for each one.

  • 250 grams softened butter (leave it out of the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before using)
  • 250 grams plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence

For the filling

  • 75 grams butter
  • 140 grams icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence

For the jam

  • 100 grams strawberries
  • 100 grams caster sugar

Method

  • Start with making the jam as it will need at least one-hour to set before using; cut the strawberries into quarters and place in a saucepan.
  • Cover with the caster sugar and leave for at least 30 minutes.
  • When the sugar has dissolved start heating the jam, bringing it to a high simmer; stir regularly to break up the strawberries. This should take around 30-40 minutes.
  • Use the back of a fork to mash up any remaining strawberries – they should be soft at this point.
  • Allow the jam to cool, then transfer to the fridge and chill until it has set.
  • If you are using shop bought jam (which is much easier) start with making the biscuits and preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
  • Using a food processer, mix together all of the biscuit ingredients and blend until smooth.
  • My mixture wasn’t very soft at this stage, so I used a spatula to beat it and make it more pliable, although I probably should have left it for a little longer before moving on.
  • Spoon the mixture into a piping bag (if you know how to use one!) with a star nozzle, pipe little rosettes onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Make sure they are well spaced out.
  • I gave up after a few attempts (my mixture needed to be softer) and used two teaspoons to create round shaped biscuits and then pressed down on each biscuit with a fork to make dents… they looked kind of like shells!
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 10-15 minutes or until pale golden-brown and firm.
  • Remove the biscuits from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • To make the filling, cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla together in a bowl using a whisk until it is light and smooth.
  • Turn half of the biscuits upside down and cover with a layer of buttercream, now spoon on a small dollop of jam and add another biscuit on top.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.

 

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