“These biscuits remind me of the packet biscuits you can get in the UK, only these are much better because we use homemade marmalade,” says McEnearney. “The marmalade recipe makes more than you’ll need for the biscuits, but it makes sense to make a big batch while you’re at it, because it’s delicious. These biscuits are the perfect size to serve for afternoon tea, but you can make them any size you wish. Just remember, the larger the biscuit, the larger you’ll need to make the thumbprint to hold the jammy filling, and you’ll need to adjust the cooking time too.” You’ll need to begin this recipe a week ahead. These biscuits are best eaten on the day they’re made.
- 125 gm softened butter
- 50 gm pure icing sugar, sieved, plus extra to serve (1/3 cup)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 110 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting (¾ cup)
- 45 gm cornflour
- 35 gm hazelnut meal (1/3 cup)
- 3 Seville oranges (see note)
- 675 gm caster sugar
- 5 gm pectin (see note)
- 1For marmalade, combine oranges and enough water to cover in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer until tender (1 hour). Remove oranges with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Strain 675ml orange cooking water through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, add sugar and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. When oranges are cool enough to handle, cut into quarters, scoop pulp out with a spoon, place in the centre of a square of muslin, tie muslin corners together and set aside. Thinly slice orange rind into strips and add to orange cooking water along with muslin bag. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat and cook until mixture reaches 103C on a sugar thermometer (30-45 minutes). Remove muslin bag, squeeze any liquid back into pan with a pair of tongs (discard bag), then simmer until mixture reaches firm setting point. Transfer to a sterilised screw-top jar (see cook’s notes), seal and stand for at least one week before using. Marmalade will keep refrigerated for 6 months. Makes 300ml.
- 2Preheat oven to 180C. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes), add vanilla and beat to combine. Stir in flours, then hazelnut meal and a pinch of salt. Roll into walnut-sized balls between floured palms, then place on oven trays lined with baking paper, leaving space for biscuits to spread. Flatten with your palm and bake for 5 minutes. Press your thumb in the centre of each biscuit to form an indent and bake until golden (10-15 minutes). Cool on tray, spoon jam into each indent, dust with icing sugar and serve.
Mike McEnearney uses Seville oranges, which have a sour, intense flavour and are ideal for making marmalade. If they’re unavailable, substitute other oranges. Pectin, a setting agent, is available from the baking section of major supermarkets.
This recipe is from the October 2012 issue of