Friday 4 February 2011

Cornish Fairings

I was browsing the Guardian Life and Style homepage recently, and happened to see a link in the margin of the page to a column Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall had written recently on biscuit recipes. He has a column every Saturday and this was from just the weekend before last. I vaguely remember J mentioning the jam thumbprint biscuits to me and thinking that they sounded like a good idea (I have lakes of jam round here - I love making it more than I love eating it. Well, that's not quite true - I love eating it too, but just eat at a slower rate than I make it....)

Anyway, I reckon I don't make biscuits often enough, so I happily clicked on the link to see what was in store for me. Well, all of the biscuits recipes look pretty delicious to me, so I decided to start with the easiest (and the one that doesn't call for eggs or separating eggs), making a mental note to go back for the others later. I'm also extremely happy to find that I can eat all of these - it's so rare for biscuit recipes not to contain nuts in some form (and yes, I'm aware that there's a peanut butter biscuit recipe there - and although peanut allergy can be extremely severe and I would never, ever give any nut to someone nut allergic without finding out directly from them what exactly they are allergic to, peanuts are part of the legume family, not the nut family and I'm not allergic to them :-))

These were easy to make - just up my street, and they smelled so delicious whilst they were baking - warm and buttery and spicy. I'm glad that the instructions said to take them out after ten minutes - to bang them and get them to spread and crackle, because I found that mine were completely cooked after ten minutes! I would have been very upset to have burnt them all, so the timings didn't work for my oven at all. As you can see though, mine have spread and crackled beautifully without needing to be banged halfway through cooking.

I was a little concerned when making them as the dough seemed very buttery and oily - some of the melted butter escaped from the biscuits as I was making them, but luckily this doesn't seem to have affected the final outcome at all. I made 21 biscuits from the mixture, using my 1tsp measuring spoon as a scoop, and gettting rounded scoops with it. The biscuits are buttery and slightly spicy and utterly delicious. The texture is both crisp and still slightly chewy in the middle - in the way that all the best homemade biscuits are, and something that shop bought biscuits just cannot do.

I would definitely make these again.... but perhaps I should make some of those other recipes first and see what I'm missing out on there first...


Chele said...

They look very profesh! I can just imagine one melting in my mouth at afternoon tea time!

Suelle said...

These look good - one teaspoon of dough sounds tiny, though!

Caroline said...

Chele - thank you!

Suelle - It was a pretty heaped tsp - my measure is fairly deep and I probably mounded it up as much again as the depth. They turned out to be about 2 1/2 inch/6cm diameter - pretty standard biscuit size, not titchy really!

Archie Pullen said...

Hello - the finished biscuits looked gorgeous! Please would you try the jam thumbrpint ones - I've done two batches now and need some advice...!
Hugh F-W says the recipe makes 24 biscuits, and advises rolling them into 2.5cm balls. Do you think this is meant to be inches? Only at this scale I seem to make forty or so. Mind you, I've found that even done in centimetres they spread out quite a bit while cooking. I end up with a flattish biscuit, while his look as if they hold their shape better.
They're absolutely delicious, and very easy to make, but I can't help thinking I'm doing something wrong and would love some advice from a more experienced cook as to what it is!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I've only just seen these but they look amazing - EXCATLY like the ones you buy! Even though I live in Cornwall I've never actually tried a homemade fairing so will have to give these a go!

Caroline said...

I'd really, really recommend giving them a go. I know it's ages since I made them but they are still a stand-out in my mind as one of the more successful things I've tried - really tasty. I hope you like them if you try them HH.


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