My first mistake when trying out the cheese biscuit recipe was to ‘not follow my instincts,’ and my second mistake was to ‘not follow my instincts.’
It seemed like an awful lot of butter, 500grams, or a pound in Aunty Teeny’s day, for three cups of flour but some recipes do have a lot of butter and I bake a lot and thought it might be right .... but my instincts said it was probably not right. Even using a food processor, getting that much cold butter into so little flour was a challenge. My great-aunt would not have had a food processor but would have worked the fat and flour together by hand.... perhaps that was the problem. Or perhaps not. One egg did not help and the little bit of water probably ended up a bit more than a little, but not much and still the struggle. The Magimix gave up and came to a choking halt leaving me with a creamy mass or is that mess of flour, cheese and butter .... some still in chunk form. The Magimix did recover but I know how it felt.
There was no choice but to scrape it all out onto the counter and work in enough flour to make it manageable. My third mistake was putting the bag of flour back in its tin. With my hands caked with creamy dough which refused to budge, I knew that more flour was needed. The next mistake, probably out of pure pigheadedness, was to refuse to wash the massive globs of dough off my hands before picking up the flour tin. End result, dough spread all over flour tin and bag and levels of frustration shrieking that the whole thing should be thrown in the bin.
But it smelled good ...shades of the past, it really did smell like Aunty Teeny’s biscuits. And I was not prepared to give up although I do confess that I threw the flour tin into the sink in frustration. Having finally got a reasonable dough which might work, although given that my egg ratio is now minimal they may not, I patted it into a round and put it in the fridge to firm up. I probably have enough for three thousand cheese biscuits by the look of it and shall roll out a small portion and ‘test’ the results. In the meantime I shall write to my cousin for a check on ingredient quantities and trawl the net for cheese biscuits.
Trawling the net for cheese biscuit recipes was not as simple as it might be. Unless the search is limited to Australia one ends up with heaps of recipes for American biscuits which are of course scones. I did surrender at one point and typed crackers but it did not seem to improve the odds. Most recipes seem to use plain flour. Perhaps Aunty Teeny mistakenly used self raising flour and ended up with her unique cheese biscuits. I did find one recipe which sounds similar in terms of ingredients and by the look of it I think my butter quotient was way overboard. But then I knew that and just decided to ignore what I knew. Sigh.
Anyway, the biscuits went into the oven and no, they did not puff up as they are meant to do but they did emerge as very tasty cheese squares. They taste great but they are not right. I ended up with something more like pastry than a biscuit and that may well be where the remaining four wads of dough end up. It is sooooooooooooooo annoying but no doubt character building. And who knows, I may find myself with an excellent and to be repeated recipe for cheese pastry. I am thinking it would be nice as the base for a quiche.
And as for the biscuits, I will not give in. I am determined to get this recipe right and make the biscuits as I remember them.
NB: Note to Self – always trust your instincts!