Delicious finger food takes practice
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.