Sunday, 19 February 2012

Cherry Viennese Whirls

Viennese whirls are my all time favourite biscuit. My mum used to make them on special occasions and if we were really lucky, she'd make Vienniese fingers with the ends dipped in plan chocolate.

Many recipe books call them Melting Moments, with some having a slightly higher flour content so you can mould the dough into balls and then flatten them slightly with the tines of a fork. I prefer the pretty, piped method. 

Although I'm happy with my own method, I was intrigued by the pretty red-tinged ones that Mary-Anne made on the Great British Bake Off.  I have the book, but you can also find the recipe on Mary-Anne's own blog.

The effect is achieved by painting a stripe of red gel food colouring down the side of a piping bag. This is where disposable piping bags come into their own as gel colouring is a b*gger to wash off anything. I had to spread my Wilton gel with a knife as it was too shock to paint with but you can see from the picture that it worked well.

A lack of forward planning meant I was light on time (the child got up from her nap and was hanging off my leg demanding to cook something) so just made regular buttercream for the filling.  I paired it with my favourite cherry jam which is a Polish brand called Mirabel that you can get in Lidl.  We don't have a Lidl close by so I rely on pilfering jars from my mum's cupboard when I go home (or asking my grandad to pop in and stock up on it for me).  It really is the best jam.  English jam is okay on scones under a pile of clotted cream, but anything I bake that's sweet, I like to have a sharp or salty contrast with.  The Polish jams do just that.  Even the 'Extra' fruit jams from companies like St Dalfour and the very tasty French jams just can't compete with these.  It's worth a trip to Lidls just to buy some.
Pretty pink biccies

The overall biscuits were lovely and crumbly and melt in the mouth.  I'm sure this is from the cornflour.  I really should've popped in a pinch of salt to lift the flavour (I always forget this when I use unsalted butter).  However, because I'm a traditionalist, I do prefer my own recipe because they're just like my mum used to make (I can't remember the last time she made them - it's high time she did!) As for the funky red effect - I think I'm going to adopt that as my own from now on.

Having just checked out the recipe on Mary Anne's blog, I note that the oven temp she gives is 20c more than they tell you in the book.  Or, maybe I misread it which is why mine took ages to cook and didn't brown!  Ah well.  They tasted okay.

Sadlly the picture is a bit rubbish.  It was hurried due to Miss A needing my attention with her own cooking activity and I've just realised I missed getting the jam and cream into the shot.  They're now packed away in a box ready to proffer to my work colleagues tomorrow and are so fragile, I don't want to unpack them again.  You'll have to use your imaginations!

250g Plain flour
60g Cornflour
60g Icing sugar
250g Unsalted butter at room temp.
1 tsp Vanilla extract.

Red Gel Food colouring 

For the filling:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 25ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Maribel Cherry Jam (or other jam of your choice)

  1. For the biscuits: Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix together until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla extract and mix in.
  3. Sift the flour and cornflour, add to the butter mixture and mix well until smooth.
  4. Now, if you want, you can add a line of food colouring to the inside of a piping bag, this will pimp the biscuits up, or you can have them plain. 
  5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
  6. Pipe circles of the mixture onto a baking paper lined baking tray. Pipe a circle of about 3-3.5cm diameter finishing in the centre and lifting the nozzle to form a small peak. Place each swirl at least an inch apart. You should get about 30 biscuits from the mixture at this size.
  7. Place the trays of biscuits in the freezer for 15-20 mins. This will help them hold their shape when baked.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200c/180c Fan
  9. Bake the biscuits for about 12 minutes until pale golden and turning very slightly brown at the edges.
  10. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Be gentle with them.
  11. For the filling: Beat the butter, vanilla bean paste and icing sugar together until it resembles sand.  Slowly pour in just enough milk until the mixture begins to combine into a smooth paste.
  12. Beat until light and fluffy then put into a piping bag and use to sandwich the biscuits together with a dab of jam.
Updated 10th June 2012 @ 20:55

I've decided to enter this into the June 2012 Alphabakes Challenge hosted by Ros over at The More Than Occasional Baker.  I'd love to do another 'V' recipe but I'm on holiday later in the month so am making do with an oldie, but a goodie.


  1. They look gorgeous - very tempting! I would like to give you a Liebster Award for a lovely blog! Rachel x

  2. Thank you. That's so lovely, it made my day :)x Will follow up with my own shortly xx

  3. Thanks for entering these to AlphaBakes. They are one of my favourite biscuits as well. I LOVE the red stripe - so pretty. I will have to borrow that idea next time! :)


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