Viennese Whirls must be the most decadent of all the biscuits. Essentially 50:50 butter and flour, they are almost impossibly short and they simply disintegrate on the tongue as you eat. They are commonly sold in packets in supermarkets and corner shops across the land but once you have made your own, you’ll not be able to look at the dry and pasty plus meagrely filled commercially produced versions. Essentially a piped “melting moment” these biscuits are very easy to make but look beautiful when handmade as each whirl is as unique as the layers of tuile on a ballerina’s tutu. And I bet you have never had a Raspberry & Custard Viennese Whirl before now. A little freeze dried raspberry powder in the dough and a spoonful of raspberry jam in the middle of these sandwiched biscuits together with a custard cream filling make for dreamy biscuits which are absolutely to die for.
As with all simple bakes, there are a few rules that you simply must obey to get the results that you want. The main one is that the butter must be so soft, it is almost oily when you make the dough and then the biscuits must be chilled until it is completely solid and baked relatively short and hot or you will lose the beautiful piping which gives them their characteristic shape.
Next is the inclusion of cornflour to lighten the texture and help give rise to the biscuit. In my version, I use Bird’s Custard Powder as this is essentially cornflour plus a little almond extract and some food colouring which gives the most beautiful pinky-apricot-primrose yellow colour to the dough and filling. Americans might use cake flour in place of the plain and cornflours here to get the same result – a biscuit which expands substantially on baking and is light as a cloud in texture.
The final rule is you need to use a smaller nozzle than you think to get defined swirls and a not-too-monstrous biscuit size wise! I find a 1M or 2D Wilton nozzle work very well indeed for both the biscuit and the filling.
- 250g very soft butter
- 50g icing sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 25g custard powder*
- 2 tbsp freeze dried raspberry powder**
- 75g soft butter
- 150g icing sugar
- 25g custard powder
- 3 tbsp raspberry jam
- 2 disposable piping bags
- 1M or 2D Wilton icing nozzles (a small to medium star shape is what you are after if you are using a different brand of nozzles)
- 2 baking trays lined with reusable silicone sheets or baking parchment
- Ensure your butter is soft enough to press easily with a spatula then beat to loosen it up in a stand mixer. Add the icing sugar and beat until well incorporated and light but certainly don't beat as much as for a sponge cake.
- Sift over the flour and custard powder and add the raspberry powder then slowly beat in until well combined.
- Place the nozzle inside a piping bag and scoop in the dough, massaging to get any air bubbles out. Pipe out small rosettes leaving plenty of space in between for spreading. You should get 9-10 on each tray. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 200˚C and position a shelf in the centre of the oven.
- Bake each tray straight from the fridge for approximately 12 minutes - carefully touch the biscuits to see if they are dry to touch. They shouldn't have coloured but will be set.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a rack until cold. Cook the second tray of biscuits in the same manner.
- Make the buttercream by beating the butter first to loosen and then sifting over the icing sugar and custard powder and beating until very light and fluffy. Stop the mixer to scrape down as needed (whether using a stand mixer or hand held one - it would take a bit more muscle power than I like to do it by hand!).
- Put the cleaned out nozzle into a second piping bag and fill with the buttercream. Pipe a ring leaving a hole in the centre on half of the biscuits then fill the space with about 1/2 tsp jam. Sandwich together with a second biscuit. They are very short and delicate so handle carefully. If not eating straight away, store in an airtight tin for up to a week. Put them in the fridge if it is hot in your kitchen.
- *= I like to use Bird's custard powder but you can get supermarket own brands in the UK too. If you can get neither, simply replace with cornflour and add a single drop (or two) of almond extract as this is the flavour added to custard powder.
- **= you can grind whole freeze dried raspberries in a coffee/spice grinder to make them a finer powder suitable for this recipe.
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