Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam Biscuits
It's February and I am starting to see forced rhubarb in the supermarkets.. yay! Rhubarb is one of my favourite ingredients to cook with, it has so much versatility and the colour is so beautifully vibrant. I've used rhubarb in this recipe to make a jam with vanilla. The mellowness and sweetness of the vanilla pairs really well with the tartness with the rhubarb, making it a great combination for a jam! Then sandwiched between to light and buttery vanilla sable cookies. A perfect biscuit for that sweet craving!
For the biscuit recipe, I've used a traditional French 'Sable Hollandaise' recipe. This is a classic method of making a sweet, buttery biscuit. The word 'sable' in French, means 'sandy' or 'crumbly' to resemble the texture of the flour and butter when rubbed together. This biscuit is really easy and quick to make, plus it stores really well in the freezer so you can always have emergency biscuits in the freezer... which I think is completely necessary!!
SO WHAT INGREDIENTS DO WE NEED?
BUTTER So... the type of butter you get is really important.. PLEASE don't buy margarine! You will struggle to roll and cut out the dough, it won't taste as buttery and will be just wrong. I recommend getting a block of unsalted butter (this means you can control the salt in the recipe). This will ensure the dough will have the right texture and the buttery flavour.
ICING SUGAR This is used instead of caster sugar in the dough as you will get a smoother and less grainy texture in the biscuit.
PLAIN FLOUR Pretty self-explanatory really! This is the bulk ingredient of the dough.
BAKING POWDER This ensures the biscuit is very light and delicate, the slight raising agent will create air pockets which will lighten it.
VANILLA EXTRACT There is a MASSIVE difference between extract and essence. Extract is literally extract from the vanilla pod, however essence is an artificial flavour to match the vanilla. So please try to get the extract always when baking, even better if you can get the ones with the vanilla seeds inside too!
SALT Salt should basically be in all your bakes! It is there to enhance all the flavours as well as balance out the sweetness
EGGS The eggs are to bind the dough together as well as to enrich it. I used medium eggs which is the standard size.
WATER The water is to help to bind the ingredients together as well. Make sure to use cold water.
RHUBARB The star ingredient!! Make sure it is perfectly ripe and pink! When you chop it up for the jam, chop it into small pieces so it dissolved into a smooth jam.
CASTER SUGAR Also a self-explanatory ingredient! There is more sugar in this jam than usual as Rhubarb is naturally very sour.
PECTIN This is the setting agent for the jam. Because the Rhubarb has a lot of naturally occurring pectin, you only need a small amount. I recommend using a scale for this or a 1/2 tsp. measure.
Makes 15-20 Cookies
For the dough:
400g Plain Flour
4g Baking Powder
5ml Vanilla Extract
200g Icing Sugar
200g Softened Butter
For the Jam:
250g Rhubarb, chopped
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract or seeds of 1 Vanilla pod
75g Icing sugar for dusting
In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the dough including the softened butter. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix together until everything is combined and is starting to form into a dough.
Empty the contents of the bowl onto a clean surface and using your hand or a plastic scraper to press the dough into the table to ensure all the butter has been incorporated and is a smooth dough.
Scrape the dough off the table and place between two large pieces of baking parchment. Then using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a thickness of 2-3mm. Then, keeping it still between the paper, place inside the freezer for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Remove the dough from the freezer and you will need a 7cm round cutter and a 3 cm round cutter. Half of the cookies you will just need to cut plain round 7cm, and the other half will be cut with the same 7cm cutter and then using the 3cm cutter, cut a small round hole in the middle of the biscuits. You should have equal quantities of each.
Place these biscuits onto baking trays lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
Now for the jam, in a small bowl, mix together the sugar and pectin until well combined. Add the chopped rhubarb and 2 tbsp. water to a pan and then add the sugar mix. Give it a good stir and bring to a boil. Once the sugar starts to dissolve and the rhubarb starts to soften, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the jam reaches 104 degrees celsius. (If you don't have a thermometer, when you think it is ready, take a small spoon and dip it in the jam, leave to set on a cold plate and if it starts to set and a skin is formed. It is ready. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl or jar and leave to set.
For the assembly, Dust the biscuits with the holes with icing sugar. Turn the bottom biscuits upside down. Warm the jam up in the microwave so that it is liquid again. Spoon about 1 1/2 tsp. Jam onto the upside down biscuits making sure not to go right to the edge of the biscuit otherwise it will run over the edge. Place the dusted biscuit on top of the jam and leave to set for a couple minutes.
That's it! These will last for a couple days in an airtight container. They are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning!