It is said that good things come to those who wait, and it's certainly true where these little beauties are concerned!
Arlettes was the bake I opted to challenge myself with for GBBO's biscuit week (S6, W2). It was either that or the signature dish of biscotti; I must admit it was a close run thing but given that Paul's Technical Challenge of Arlettes contained cinnamon, the decision was made and these beautiful butter rich biscuits were attempted!
Post Script: I'm so delighted, considering the wealth of baking talent out there, to have been awarded the exciting badge of 'Star Baker' from Mummy Mishaps for the GBBO Technical Bake of Arlettes, in Week 2, Biscuits!
Arlettes was the technical challenge set by the Bake Off's very own Silver Fox, Paul Hollywood. I'd never heard of Arlettes until the GBBO episode, so having done a little reading about them I found out that they are a French biscuit originating from the South of France at the start of the 1900s.
They are made from puff pastry, but reversed in that the butter encases the dough. It is rolled out and folded several times to build up the lamination layers of butter and dough. I must admit they do take a wee while to make, due to the amount of chilling time required, but the actual hands on time is relatively minimal. They are a little challenging to make; but where would the fun be if the contestants were given something easy to make! Though it you fancy making these; don't let that put you off, simply take your time and give it a go, and aim to keep the butter nice and cool through out most of the recipe.
These biscuits are simply scrummy; they are crisp, light, buttery, and slightly caramelised with a little hint of cinnamon. I can imagine they'd be great made with other spices too, such as cardamom. They were so good with my pot of tea, and they would be fabulous served with some ice cream. I must admit they are a little on the large size, the largest measured 27cm long! You'd need a big biscuit barrel to house that and probably more than one cup of your favourite beverage to accompany that 'little' dude! This batch is meant to make 12 but I only managed to make 9 of these beauties because I didn't slice them narrow enough once the pastry had been rolled up (hence their large size). With that in mind, I've slightly altered the dimension guide for rolling the pastry before shaping into a sausage, thus making it easier to slice into 12 discs.
So let's get to it and bake.
Yield: 12 biscuits
Serves: 12 people
Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult
Freezable: Sorry, untested
Time: hands on time 40 minutes; plus 120 minutes chilling time, 10 minutes bake time.
Adapted from: The Great British Bake Off Celebrations book accompanying series 6. You can read that here
You will need:
1 Baking Tray
Greaseproof paper, 2 x 50cm long, another to line the baking tray
Pallet Knife or similar
Fish Slice, or similar
For the Dough
60g Strong White Bread Flour
60g Plain 00 Flour, suitable for pastries
1/2 tsp Salt
40g Unsalted Butter, melted
50g Cold Water
Extra Plain Flour for kneading and rolling
For the Butter Layer
125g Unsalted Butter at room temperature
25g Strong White Bread Flour
25g Plain 00 Flour, suitable for pastries
For the Flavouring
50g Granulated Sugar
2 level tsp Ground Cinnamon
For Rolling Out & Shaping
Plenty of Icing Sugar
How to make them:
1. Make the dough. Have a stretch of cling film to hand. Place the flours and salt into a bowl and combine with you hand. Make a well. Pour the melted butter and water into the well. Using your hand combine the liquid and flour together to make a dough. Place the dough onto a well floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until it is soft and smooth. Shape the dough into a square measuring 10cm x 10cm. Wrap in the cling film and place in the fridge to chill for about 40 - 45 minutes.
2. Prepare the butter layer. Place the softened butter into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to ensure it is nice and soft. Add the flours and carefully combine and mix well. Place the butter mixture onto one of the long sheets of greaseproof paper and place the other sheet on top. Flatten the mixture a little with your hand then use a rolling pin to roll the mixture to a dimension of 30cm x 10cm. Use a pallet knife or similar to neaten the edges, placing the off cuts onto the mixture and smoothing it out. Place the butter mixture in the fridge to firm up for about 25 minutes.
3. Roll and fold the mixture. Remove the butter mixture from the fridge and place it onto a well floured work surface, peeling off the greaseproof paper. Place the dough into the centre of the mixture and use the flaps of butter to fully encase the dough. Roll the mixture into a long oblong away from you about 35cm - 40cm long, aiming to keep the sides as neat and straight as possible (use the sides of your hands to gently knock the edges in to keep it neat). Measure the length of the mixture and mark the centre. Bring the top edge to the centre and then bring the bottom edge to the centre. Fold the pastry mixture in half along the join line. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 25 minutes.
4. Roll and fold again. Remove the pastry from the fridge and place unwrapped onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pastry out again into a long oblong, keeping the edges neat. Repeat the fold procedure. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a further 25 minutes.
5. Roll, flavour and fold. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Remove the pastry from the fridge, unwrap it and roll the pastry out into a long oblong on a lightly floured work surface, keeping the edges neat. Scatter with the cinnamon and sugar mixture ensuring the edges are well covered also. Repeat the fold technique. Roll the pastry out again, away from you, into a dimension of about 15cm x 25cm (the narrow edge being nearest to you).
6. Shape into a sausage. From the short end nearest to you, roll the pastry up into a sausage, keeping it fairly tight. Wrap tightly in cling film. Place in the fridge for a further 25 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 200c / Fan 180c/ Gas 6. Prepare the baking trays with grease proof paper tacked down in the corners.
8. Slice and chill. Remove the pastry from the fridge and unwrap. Trim the edges with a sharp knife to neaten. Slice into 12 discs. Place 9 of the discs onto a spare baking tray or plate and place in the fridge to keep chilled.
9. Roll into shape. Dust the work surface liberally with icing sugar, Place the cut side of a disc face down onto the work surface and dust the upper face and rolling pin also with more icing sugar. Roll the disc out very thin , into an oval shape. Dust with more icing sugar if necessary. Place onto the lined baking tray. Repeat with another disc. You may find only 2 or 3 Arlettes will fit onto the tray.
10. Bake. Bake the Arlettes in the centre of the oven for 5 - 6 minutes. Using a fish slice, carefully turn the biscuits over to allow the underside to crisp up. If you find the Arlettes are difficult to flip over, bake them for a further minute before attempting again. Bake the second side for a further 4 - 5 minutes. During the baking time, roll out some more biscuits, keeping them chilled in the fridge until you can bake them. You may need to dust the top of the biscuit with a little more icing sugar before baking if it has dissolved from being in the fridge a while.
11. Cool. Once the biscuits are baked through and crisp, slide them carefully onto a baking tray to cool.
Enjoy with your favourite pot of tea!
This post has been shared with:
Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015 hosted this week by Jenny of All You Need is Love and Cake and co-ordinated by Mummy Mishaps
The Bake Off Bake Along 2015, co-hosted by Ala at This Particular Blog and Amanda at Rhyme and Ribbons