As we navigate Life’s journey, there is something that we always turn to bring us comfort, something that has always been there metamorphosising to suit our numbering years, but still delivering the same sentiment.
The biscuit. For as long as I can remember, it has been in my life. From a pappy mouth sucking on a rusk to ease the agony of that enamel breaking the surface of the gum, through Party Rings (don’t get me started on the colour fights again) to chocolate chunk cookies, artisan creations and probably a Rich Tea to suck in my old, denture clad state. It’s there, to bring not sheer elation, but a kind of contentment that just reassures you that everything WILL be okay.
So currently, approaching my forties, it’s hard to know where I fit on this scale of biscuit related aging. Too old for the cool, funky kaleidoscopic newfound fads, yet a touch too young to be resigned to soggy dunking of something ‘nice and plain’ (sorry if you’ve reached that point, no offence)
This is where I sit. Plain in essence but just a little bit funky. Like a Custard Cream for millennials…. a far cry from that ‘loo cleaner’ fragrance associated with pine, this is fresh, zingy and as short as you like, the buttercream forming the glue to contain those crumbs.
So, make a batch, sit back and remember, everything will be alright…….
Recipe inspired by Delicious Magazine
4-5 Pine Shoots from the tips of the new growth
120g Caster Sugar
230g Unsalted Butter, soft
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Lemon extract
340g Plain Flour
125g Custard powder
2 tbsp Whole Milk
5 tbsp Lemon Curd
300g Icing Sugar
2 Pine Shoots
150g Unsalted Butter, soft
1 tsp Lemon Extract
1 tbsp Whole Milk
1. Start with the biscuits. Have 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper ready. Add 50g of the sugar with the pine tips to a blender and blitz until the shoots are incorporated and the sugar takes on a green hue. Stir into the remaining sugar.
2. Add this sugar and the butter to the base of a stand mixer and beat for 5-6 minutes or until pale and fluffy.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, custard powder and a pinch of salt.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and gently mix, add the milk to form a soft dough.
5. Turn onto the baking paper and top with the remaining sheet. Roll to between 0.5 and 1 cm thick then pop into the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven 150C and line two baking trays with non-stick paper.
6. Blend 50g of the icing sugar for the filling with the pine shoots and add the remaining sugar.
7. Add all the filling ingredients including this pine sugar (but not the lemon curd) to a stand mixer and beat until smooth, pale and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag.
8. Using a 6cm fluted cutter, stamp out the biscuits, making sure you have an even number. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until firm but uncoloured. Cool 5 minutes on the tray then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
9. When cold, pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of half the biscuits, add a blob of lemon curd to the centre and sandwich using the remaining biscuits.
10. Sit back, relax and let out a big, long awaited sigh.