RECIPE: Make our Viennese whirls with salted caramel chocolate filling
- Credit: Archant
Buttery, delicate, dainty and moreish - our group food and drink editor is in love with this decadent biscuit.
I had intended to publish the next in my Great British Bakes series this week...but I’ve been led down another, deliciously delightful path.
Recently I ordered a picnic from Patricia Sharman. It’s the third time we’d booked through the acclaimed East Anglian wedding caterer. While large weddings are on pause, she and her chefs have been making up boxes (just under £20 for two) including generously-filled quiches with the best pastry I’ve ever had, sausage rolls, marinated chicken skewers, a variety of interesting salads and puds.
As someone who likes to ‘go big or go home’ when it comes to picnics, these have actually saved me money on our summer jaunts – once I set foot in a deli there’s no knowing how much I’ll spend on cheese, chutneys and charcuterie.
Our most recent delivery from Pat included Viennese whirls sandwiched with salted caramel chocolate ganache. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten one before then. I’m not a great fan of supermarket biscuits, and you only really tend to find whirls on doilies as part of a dainty afternoon tea.
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My husband and I looked at one another and smiled with greedy, delirious joy as we bit into the buttery, crumbly pastry. Shorter than short, each bite melted in the mouth – a wispy, vanilla-scented cloud. The generous, lightly salted dark chocolate filling was also indescribably good.
So here, this week, is my homage to Pat and her kitchen’s devilish creation. You need to add a little splash of milk to the mixture to get it to the right consistency for piping (so it doesn’t split the bag). You want it to be like a firm cake batter that drops easily from a spoon, showing a little bit of resistance.
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The biscuits are very very delicate – not the kind of thing you can wrap in foil and chuck in a rucksack for a walk. So reserve this recipe for a special afternoon tea. Get your finest china out. And yes, use doilies! If you do want to transport them, I suggest open batch freezing on a tray before wrapping carefully and letting them defrost on arrival at your destination. They’re actually really good ice cold if you’re too impatient – like posh ice cream sandwiches.
Salted caramel and dark chocolate Viennese whirls
200g softened salted butter
60g icing sugar, sifted
1tbsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour, sifted
50g custard powder, sifted
1/2tsp baking powder
Splash of milk
50g golden caster or light brown sugar
200ml double cream
200g dark chocolate
To finish: Icing sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line two trays with greaseproof paper. You’ll also need to prepare a piping bag with a large star nozzle. If you don’t have a nozzle or bag, simply go online and watch a video showing you how to make a piping bag out of greaseproof and cut yourself a 1cm hole at the end – or you can spoon the mixture onto the trays. It won’t look as pretty but they’ll still taste lush.
Pop all the biscuit ingredients in a food processor or mixer and blend until smooth, adding a splash of milk if needed to loosen.
Spoon into your piping bag and pipe 5cm wide rounds, 3cm apart. Start at the middle and pipe out, around in a concentric circle.
Place in the pre-heated oven for six minutes, then turn the trays around and cook for a further six minutes. They will be set, and lightly golden in places.
Leave to cool completely on the trays. If you handle them hot they will fall apart. While they cool make the filling. Place the caster sugar in a small pan with a splash of water and pop on the hob on a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Once no sugar grains remain turn up the heat and take the mix to a dark amber colour – watch carefully as it can burn quickly at this stage if you turn your back.
Allow to cool for a few minutes and, off the heat, add the cream. Stir to dissolve any hardened granules of caramel and add the chocolate, which will melt in the residual heat. Add a pinch of salt to taste and stir. Let the mix come to a cool room temperature.
Loosen the biscuits from their trays carefully and sandwich the biscuits together with the filling – a generous tablespoon in each. When you press the biscuits together – be gentle. Dust the tops with icing sugar to finish. They’ll keep for two days in an airtight tin if you don’t freeze them.