De­li­cious finger food takes prac­tice

The Irish Times Magazine - - FOOD -

Some things look de­cep­tively easy to make. Vi­en­nese fingers, the short but­tery melt- in- the- mouth bis­cuits, fall into this cat­e­gory. They were in­vented and pop­u­larised in Bri­tain, but in­spired by Aus­trian pas­tries.

They are the type of dainty bis­cuit that re­minds you that bak­ing is a sci­en­tific craft and can go very wrong if you play fast and loose with a few ba­sic rules.

The first wake- up call comes when you com­mence pip­ing and find the dough is too stiff and doesn’t flow easily. Gen­tly mas­sag­ing the dough in the pip­ing bag will soften it and also re­move air bub­bles that might cre­ate a vac­uum. An­other tip is to warm a steel pip­ing noz­zle be­fore fit­ting it in the bag.

The sec­ond wake- up call is when you bake bis­cuits in the oven only to find the dough has spread hor­ri­bly, leav­ing you just as de­flated as your del­i­cate Vi­en­nese fingers. If this hap­pens to you, sub­se­quent batches will leave your nerves shot. This recipe makes 10- 12 bis­cuits – the per­fect amount for a lit­tle prac­tice. So, what makes the bis­cuit dough spread? The most im­por­tant thing is to chill your bis­cuits af­ter they have been piped but be­fore bak­ing, as the mix­ture will have soft­ened while you were han­dling it in the pip­ing bag. Bak­ing at a high oven tem­per­a­ture short­ens the bak­ing time, while giv­ing enough time for the bis­cuits to rise and their shape to set. Watch them care­fully to­wards the end of the bak­ing time, as the but­ter can turn bis­cuits from golden to burnt in sec­onds.

The best thing about th­ese bis­cuits is they are very quick to make.

Once you per­fect the recipe you can whip the dough up in no time. You can also have lots of fun pip­ing them into round whirls or even rings that can be sand­wiched to­gether with sweet fill­ings ( there is very lit­tle sugar in the dough).

Once you know what you are do­ing with this easy- to- fol­low recipe, they are well worth the ef­fort.

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