The ubiquitous and popular British biscuit the jammy dodger must surely have been inspired by the infinitely more decadent and elegant French ‘lunettes’. These traditionally oval-shaped sablé biscuits, two of which are sandwiched together, typically using raspberry jam, have with two distinctive jammy holes on top that give the traditional form its name. I read that these butter biscuits may originally date back to the Middle Ages in Italy where they were called ‘Milanais’
Despite my less traditional monocular jam aperture, round shape and un-fluted edge, these lunettes are a cut above the much-loved jammy dodger. The alluring sablé biscuit is similar to shortbread. The jam is ‘real’, although there appears to be some debate over whether seedless or seeded jams are preferable. I initially tried the recipe with seedless raspberry, but later used the same jam with seeds and found it to have much better depth of flavour and texture within – less runny too. Importantly for biscuit lovers, they are substantially bigger than our jammy dodgers, with a film of icing sugar dusted over to give their otherwise demure appearance an irresistible appeal (as if one would need much encouragement to eat these beauties).
Although I have got into the rhythm of ensuring the musicians are supplied with biscuits on a weekly basis, my offerings are lagging behind in posts due to my other commitments. I have actually made seven offerings in this series of 10 biscuit-making recipes, alas, my drafts continue to accumulate. These include my posts about the recent Old Spot butchery, sausage and bacon production and an associated new gadget purchase – all to be accompanied with my inevitable butchery musical sound track. Hope to cover this soon for discerning carnivores (and any fans of extreme music…).
To add to the malaise, sadly, I have had some food photography disasters of late. The quality of the photographs of some of the dishes has been so poor (even for me) that they did not do the food justice and I could not possibly include the images in posts. Unfortunately, this included a pretty splendid vegetarian Mexican banquet and a colourful and enticing dish of home made tagliatelle with mussels, fennel and parmesan. Never mind, onwards and upwards, good tasting food is paramount!
This recipe is courtesy of Annie Bell. It makes about 14 lunettes. The biscuits can be made a few days in advance and sandwiched together with your jam of choice just before serving. I prefer raspberry, The Man Named Sous, strawberry jam, but any jam could be used, depending on what floats your boat at the time – or what you have in the store cupboard. I’m hopeful my raspberry crop will yield enough for my own jam this year. Fingers crossed.
220g unsalted butter
120g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 medium egg yolks
300g plain flour
100g of jam of your choice
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a food processor or food mixer, add the lemon zest, the egg yolks then flour to form a sticky dough.
- Wrap in cling film, flatten into a block and chill for a few hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 160C and cover 2 baking sheets in silicone sheeting or parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 5 mm. Use an 8 cm cutter to make the biscuits and cut out a hole 2 cm wide with a cutter from the centre of half of them.
- Place on the baking sheets slightly apart and bake for 10-12 minutes until just starting to colour.
- Use a palette knife to loosen them, place on a baking tray and allow to cool.
- Dust the tops with the holes in icing sugar, spread about 3/4 teaspoon of jam in the centre of the bottom biscuit and place the sugar-coated half on top.