Thursday 1 September 2016

Viennese Whirls (GBBO Technical Challenge)

Second week, biscuits this time (thus restarting the eternal Jaffa Cakes - biscuit or cake discussion).

I've done Viennese biscuits before, so once again reasonably happy with these. Jam, however, is my eternal nemesis, though I now have a temperature probe, and the knowledge that the jamming point is 104'C. That didn't quite save me, as a bit of reading (after the fact unfortunately) tells me that strawberries don't have pectin, so you need to use jam sugar, or add some pectin in. I'm reticent to have yet another type of sugar sitting around the house, so I think I'll look into getting some pectin to add to jam when needed. I also tend to do a 1:1 ratio of jam to sugar, and I think I may be able to reduce this to 10:7 fruit:sugar (more fruit always being good). Apparently the higher in pectin the fruit, the less sugar you need.

My other challenge is that my viennese are a bit delicate. Actually, very delicate. Sort of "dissolve in your hand delicate". I'll do a bit more reading, but I'm going to suggest this is down to 2 things;
1) The recipe I've used before has a slightly higher cornflour to flour ration (225g of plain flour, 75g of cornflour, whereas many other recipes seem to use 250g plain flour and 50g cornflour).
2) I really do make sure it's got air in it. Perhaps a little less punishment with the stand mixer is in order.

So, while they look good (and taste good), there are some refinements I can do.

Viennese Whirls - Recipe

Jam Ingredients

  • 200g strawberries (hulled and quartered)
  • 200g caster sugar (though jam sugar is probably in order, or pectin)
Note - this makes more than you need, so put the remainder in a jar for use later
1) Place the strawberry quarters and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat

2) Stir until all the sugar has melted/dissolved

3) Turn up the heat, and continue to stir until boiling

4) Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 104'C (use a temperature probe, I do!)

5) Pour the jam out onto an oven tray to cool

Biscuit Ingredients

  • 250g softened butter
  • 225g plain flour (suggest 250g)
  • 75g cornflour (suggest 50g)
  • 50g icing sugar

1) Pre-heat the oven to 160-170'C

2) Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment

3) Place the sugar, flours and butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

4) Mix (slowly at first) until the dough comes together. Turn up the speed and continue to mix until white and light.

5) Transfer the dough to a piping bag with a semi-closed star nozzle (medium sized)

6) On each baking tray pipe 12 ~5cm spirals

7) Bake each tray for 13-14 minutes, until just going golden

8) Leave to cool for a few minutes on the tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool

Butter Cream Ingredients

  • 100g softened butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • ½tsp vanilla essence
  • Splash of milk
Note - this makes more than you need,  by quite a long way!

1) Put the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

2) Mix until light

3) Add the vanilla essence, and milk sparingly to create a creamy texture (you don't want it runny though, be very careful

4) Transfer to a piping bag with a small star nozzle attachment


1) Turn half the biscuits upside down

2) Pipe a circle of buttercream onto each biscuit

3) Fill the circles with a teaspoon of jam

4) Place the other biscuits on top to form a sandwich


 I did another batch, with the improvements I noted above (less cornflour, more flour).  I also mixed the batter slightly less and baked them for 15 minutes to improve the structural integrity. This all seemed to work, and they didn't just dissolve when you picked them up.

More importantly, I spent some time sorting out the jam, and understanding why I kept mucking it up. This was definitely worthwhile, and hopefully I can stop having jamming disasters!