May 27, 2012 § 8 Comments
When I discovered the recipe for Garibaldis in a recent issue of Jamie magazine a few weeks ago, the first thing I thought when reading the name of the biscuits was how familiar the name was, even all these years since high school history class. The second fleeting reaction was how cool must it be to have a biscuit named after oneself, with a third and lasting thought of ooh currants, I love them in baked goods.
Only after plotting an excuse to make these (it ended up being the most logical justification, hunger) did I finally dredge up my old high school text A History of the Modern World, fondly dubbed Palmer in honor of the author, to refresh my memory of the famous Italian general. His career spanned several continents and many causes, the most familiar to us now perhaps being Italian unification. These warm, sweetly fragrant biscuits became Garibaldis to capitalize on his fame, and according to the header of the recipe in the magazine were the result of clever British bakers working within the restrictions of war rations.
Their old-fashioned charm is quite appealing to me lately; I wouldn’t call it nostalgia exactly, for I can’t recall ever eating these biscuits as a child, but the jammy currants and soft texture definitely conjure a sense of comfort food, especially when enjoyed with a hot cup of tea. If teatime isn’t your thing, they’re also known as squashed-fly biscuits, and therefore humorously suitable for picnics too.
Adapted from Jamie
Makes approximately eighteen rectangular biscuits
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted (seven tablespoons)
- 100 grams all-purpose flour (7/8 cup or one cup minus two tablespoons)
- 100 grams confectioners’ (icing/powdered) sugar (7/8 cup or one cup minus two tablespoons)
- 100 grams egg whites (from about three large eggs)
- 200 grams (seven ounces) currants (one and 1/3 cups)
1. Melt the butter. Meanwhile, combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Once butter is melted, pour it into the mixing bowl with the flour and sugar and stir to combine.
2. Beat in the egg whites; the dough will be wet and appear curdled at first, but after a few moments of stirring it should smooth out, though a few lumps is normal. Gently fold in the currants. Transfer the dough to a smaller container or bowl and chill it for at least thirty minutes.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Tip the creamy yellow biscuit dough onto the paper and then with a spatula or knife, spread it into a roughly rectangular shape; the dough should be about a centimeter or so thick. Take another large sheet of parchment paper and lay it across the top of the dough rectangle and then cover with another baking sheet, pressing down gently (so as not to turn the rectangle into an amoebic blob). Take some more cookie sheets or a heavy oven-safe pan, and stack that on top of the dough. Chill again for at least thirty minutes.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Once the dough is chilled, bake the entire stack of baking sheets (and/or heavy pan on top) for twenty-eight to thirty-three minutes until the Garibaldi is golden brown on top. If the large biscuit isn’t completely golden, remove the top layer of baking sheets (though not the paper) and bake for an additional few minutes.
5. Remove the pans from the oven and let the biscuit cool for a few minutes. Then, while it is still soft, slice it into approximately twenty rectangular biscuits. Enjoy warm, or keep in an airtight tin for up to three days.
Jones, Anna. “Garibaldis” from “Take the Biscuit.” Jamie. Mar./Apr. 2012: 68-9. Print.