Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Traditional British Food, Part 30: Easter Biscuits

According to The Taste of Britain by Laura Mason and Catherine Brown, an Easter Biscuit is: "a circular biscuit with a fluted edge, 50-90mm in diameter, 5mm thick; Weight: 12-20g. Color: pale gold irregularly flecked with currants. Flavor: sweet, lightly spiced. Short texture" (40). My Easter Biscuits (cookies) are sweet and lightly spiced and contain currants. However, I didn't want to bake them all at once, so I turned them into slice-n-bake cookies and the source recipe I used makes much thicker cookies than 5mm.

The use of brandy in the recipe makes these Sedgemoor Easter Biscuits. Using lemon instead would make these London Easter Biscuits (41).


Easter Biscuits

yields 24

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) dried currants
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 egg
1/4 cup brandy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, add the flour and butter. Cut the butter into the flour until mixture resembles moist sand. Stir in the sugar, currants and spices.

Add the egg and brandy and stir until all of the dough is moistened. If baking entire batch at once, roll the dough out to a half-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter. If you'd like to bake just a few at a time, use a large piece of parchment paper to form the dough into a 12"-long roll and slice off as many half-inch-thick cookies as you'd like. (Store remainder, wrapped in parchment, in a plastic bag in a freezer.)

Bake cookies (biscuits, whatever) on an ungreased, unlined baking sheet in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe adapted from "Sedgemoor Easter Cake" in Good Things in England by Florence White.

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I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to post today. The computer was acting up and refusing to start up. Thankfully, Paul came home and fixed it. It's aggravating that he basically tried the same things I did and the stupid thing worked for him. I am maintaining my uneasy peace with technology.

.....

Books that I've read and liked recently:
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (I absolutely adore Flavia de Luce!)
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  • Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (Much more subversive and sinister than the Disney version.)
  • The Country Wife by William Wycherley
  • Love for Love by William Congreve
  • The Confederacy by John Vanbrugh (really wish I had my own comedy troupe right about now)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
TV/Films:
  • Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (Anthony Asquith, 1952)
  • Joseph Andrews (Tony Richardson, 1977)
  • I Know Where I'm Going! (Michael Powell, 1945) (This really is a rather silly movie, but it has Roger Livesey in it, way before he played the Duke of St. Bungay in The Pallisers.)
  • Terry Jones: Medieval Lives (TV, 2004) (Great fun. Not just for Monty Python fans.)
  • Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2004) (The first time I saw this was in the theatre and the sound was so low that no one could hear any of the dialogue. It is impossible to appreciate this film without being able to hear all the snide comments uttered by the various characters!)
  • The House of Eliott: Series 1 (TV, 1991)
  • Mad Men: Seasons 1-3 (TV, 2007-2009)
Until next time, dear readers!

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