One of the things I cook best are biscuits: I love creating and perfecting recipes to go with my favourite dessert and fortified wines. Since I am a port lover and at my mum's I found a bottle of Porto Ruby Reserve Subheading of Burmester I decided to create a perfect dolcetto to go with it! Knowing this fortified wine well, I was certain of one thing: a chocolate biscuitmaybe a whipped shortbread biscuit, would have been a perfect match!

Biscuits are a sweet 'small pastry' baked product characterised by small size and a dry, crumbly texture. The word 'biscuit' comes from the Latin word 'biscouts', which literally means 'twice baked'. The ancestors of modern biscuits were in fact slices of bread that were baked again in the oven to be not only crisper and crunchier, but above all to keep for a longer time.

The first traces of bicottis date back to the 1300s when modern preservation methods were far away. Baking the slice of bread a second time meant removing all traces of moisture and water, especially free water, was the main culprit in food preservation. The French called it gallet and it was a staple food of their sailors as it sustained them during months at sea.

Over time, biscuits have changed shape, taste and, above all, production technique. Biscuits have kept their name although they are no longer baked twice, with rare exceptions. Today, biscuits can be divided according to their production process into shortbread biscuits, syringed biscuits, moulded biscuits, poured biscuits and flaky biscuits. Whipped shortcrust pastry is a type of syringe biscuit because the shape can be given either with a sac a poche or with a biscuit shooter. The recipe is similar to that for shortbread biscuits and the kneading technique is the same creaming-up: first mix fats, sugars, eggs and any other liquids until smooth, then add the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder). The choice of how to shape the biscuit not only influences aesthetics, but the type of dough and the kneading method is therefore crucial.

whipped shortbread biscuits recipe

The cellar of Port Burmester is one of the first I visited during my trips to Porto. Burmester has its entrance right at the beginning of the famous Ponte Louis, on the Vila Nova de Gaia side. It is part, together with my beloved Kopke, of the Sogevinus Groupowned by a Spanish bank. I had the privilege of tasting incredible vintages and all the barrels of the Quinta St Louiz from which Kopke was bornon an extraordinary day experienced in the heart of the Dourotogether with the talented oenologist Ricardo Macedo... but that is another story I will tell you soon! In the meantime, enjoy these shots from my last visit to Burmester in September 2019!

burmester port winery

Whipped shortbread biscuits: the choice of ingredients

When a dough is so simple and with so few ingredients, choosing them correctly is crucial. For whipped shortbread biscuits in particular, you need:

  • 00 FLOUR = comes from the middle part of the grain and is distinguished by its white colour and fineness. It has a low curing rate (~70-75%).
  • BUTTERproduct obtained from the cream obtained from cow's milk and the product obtained from cow's whey, as well as the mixture of the two products mentioned, which meets specific chemical, physical and organoleptic requirements. Today, there are those who choose to use vegetable fats in order to save money by giving this a health connotation (crime geniuses...). The choice of the right fat influences the consistency of the pasta as well as the flavour and aroma. Oils do not allow for homogenous and well-ventilated pastries, which is also why it is better to use softened but not melted butter. If you find recipes where they tell you to melt butter in a saucepan to make these biscuits, don't trust them! Use a good butter from centrifuged cream, the whey ones if it were up to me I wouldn't even call them butter....
  • SUGAR = can be in crystals (caster sugar), powdered (icing sugar) or liquid (syrup). Bear in mind that icing sugar always has 3% of starch added to it to retain moisture and absorbs liquids better when cold, so it is preferable to use it in confectionery. With this dough you can choose either caster sugar or icing sugar, I use caster sugar because I always have it at home!
  • EGG = increases nutritive value, improves colour, taste and fluffiness. Having a great aerating capacity, it makes it possible to obtain light and structured doughs. I like to choose eggs that make yellow dough because I find they give a beautiful and inviting colour to any dough.
  • LIEVITO = ammonium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate is used. One must be very careful with the dose to avoid the unpleasant ammonia or 'chemical' taste. In general, up to 3g of raising agent per 100g of flour can be used.
  • LEMON = always take lemons with the edible peel and only scrape the surface without touching the white part.
burmester whipped shortbread biscuits

Whipped shortbread biscuits: my easy recipe

Ingredients:

For 20 biscuits:

  • 180g of 00 flour
  • 150g butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 3g vanilla baking powder
  • the grated rind of a lemon

For the chocolate coating:

  • 100g dark chocolate

Preparation:

All ingredients must be at room temperature, so take out the eggs and butter an hour beforehand.

  1. Whisk the butter with the sugar and grated lemon peel.
  2. Add the egg and continue whipping until it is absorbed.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder and add them all together, continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Put in a pastry bag (I bought THIS pack of 100 on Amazon because they are very convenient and convenient since they are disposable) a wide spout with or without a star (also on Amazon I bought THIS SET), cut off the bottom and push in the nozzle, then fill the sac a poche with dough.
  5. Put the baking paper on the baking tray and squeeze out 5-6 cm sticks, which you keep far apart (they will rise a little). Make 3 horizontal rows of 7 biscuits each.
  6. Bake for 10-11 minutes in a static oven preheated to 200°C, then when they are well browned, take them out of the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool (as THIS of Tescoma that I bought I think 10 years ago and it is perfect despite the fact that I use it almost every day. What's more, it's very convenient because it folds up and is also good for cakes).

For the chocolate coating:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.
  2. Pour the melted chocolate into a smaller bowl and quickly dip the tip of the biscuit, wiggle to get the excess chocolate off and place on the griddle.
  3. Let the biscuits rest for an hour before placing them under the glass bell.

I can't tell you how long they keep because with my husband around they don't last from afternoon to evening... they are his favourite biscuits! 😂

whipped shortbread biscuits port burmester

Port Ruby Reserve Subheading Burmester

This Port is made from grapes touriga franca, tinta amarela, touriga nacional, tinta barroca and tinta roriz. It comes from a blend of the company's best Port Doubles aged for an average of 5 years. It is called sotto voce because it alludes to seductive words spoken in intimate moments. It is a beautiful impenetrable ruby red, very consistent. The nose is so intense that it intoxicates you even without approaching it. Notes of red fruit jam alternate with enveloping notes of spices, cinnamon, vanilla, milk chocolate and almost spicy hints. In the mouth it is consistent, warm, enveloping, alcoholic. Long hints of strawberry jam.

Its perfect combination is with chocolate, either pure or in the form of a mousse, cake or biscuit.

If you want to discover 6 interesting facts about Port that you might not know (and 6 wonderful tastings of Dalva's Aged White) click HERE.

If instead you want to discover one of my old postcards from Porto click HERE.

Cheers 🥂

Chiara

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