It feels very strange to be writing this post, especially so late, for one particular reason: I thought I had already written it. I was certain I had, in fact. But it appears I had not, so on we go.
Episode two of The Great British Bake-Off was biscuit week, and the technical was Viennese Whirls. This delighted me to no end, not because I like Viennese Whirls (which I don’t usually, in fact), but because I had attempted them before with a mixed rate of success, and I always like to give things another go.
The first time I made Vinnese Whirls several years ago, I had not softened my butter nearly enough, which we saw was an issue with the contestants on the show. I did continue to make them, however, but both my husband and I had to squeeze the piping bag together to get the mixture out. This made massive whirls that would fill you up after eating just half.
This was my first attempt way back then.
This time I was determined not to make the same mistakes.
Here is Mary Berry’s recipe:
For the jam
For the biscuits
For the filling
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
- 200g/7oz icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the jam, put the raspberries in a small, deep-sided saucepan and crush them using a potato masher. Add the sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat. When the sugar is melted, increase the heat and boil for a further 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container (pass it through a sieve if you’d rather not have seeds in your jam). Leave to cool and set.
For the biscuits, preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Line 3 baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment. Using a 5cm/2in round cutter as a guide, draw 8 circles on each sheet of paper, spaced well apart. Turn the paper over so the pencil marks are underneath.
Measure the butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Sift in the flour and cornflour and beat well, until thoroughly mixed. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle. Pipe 24 swirled rounds (not rosettes), inside the circles on the baking sheets.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 13—15 minutes, until a pale golden-brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and harden.
For the filling, measure the butter into a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Add the vanilla extract and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until very light and smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of 12 of the biscuits and place jam-side up on a cooling rack. Pipe the buttercream over the jam and sandwich with the remaining biscuits. Dust with icing sugar to finish.
So I started on the whirls, this time making sure that the butter was super soft before adding everything else to it.
Here’s my mix in the piping bag. I don’t know what it is, but I just love a tight, full, piping bag.
I unfortunately didn’t manage to get any photos of my piping before I put them in the oven, as I got carried away with making them and caught up in everything that I was doing, which included starting on the jam.
In the interest of trying to do everything that the contestants did, I wanted to make my own jam as well. This made me extremely nervous, as I have tried to make jam so, so many times in the past, and burnt it every single time. However, I decided to follow Mary’s recipe to a tee, and I finally made amazing jam!
In the photo above you can see my crushed raspberry and preserving sugar mix in the pan before melting.
And this was my jam cooling down.
I’m not joking guys, I nearly cried it was so good. When you finally are able to crack doing something you haven’t been able to master up until that point it just feels so good.
Once it was cooled, I made up the buttercream filling, and started adding the icing and jam to the biscuits. Unlike Mary advised, I added each to each side and sandwiched them together, which I just found easier than piping directly onto the jam.
[Can you spot the one that my husband tried to put jam on?]
And here are the finished products:
I’m not gonna lie, I was so proud of these.
They were delicious, and promptly devoured in a couple of days between myself, my husband, my friend, and my daughter.
Did you see Wednesday’s episode? Looks like I’ve got some steamed dumplings to deal with next… that should be interesting!