They look intricate and yet are so easy to create – think Swiss roll! A layer of simple shortcake mix rolled out and then covered with a contrasting mix. Rolled out – spread over – rolled up-chilled and then sliced! So easy, so versatile and so delicious.
Takes a little time and thought – but is pretty well foolproof. Simply make your shortcake/pastry mix. It will be delicate – so chill it and roll it out carefully – then cover with whatever you think is the best ‘filling’. Roll up and chill again before slicing and baking. I love them because they look like they were so much more trouble than they were. You could fill with jam, a bit like a traditional Swiss roll, or with Nutella, melted caramel or cinnamon sugar and nuts. Fillings are as wide as your imagination (or store cupboard) will allow.
Here is the first trick- just roll out the shortbread dough between two sheets of parchment paper. This means you can mark the size you are trying to work towards on the top piece (i.e. pencil out the 12 inch square) To be honest – for me regular squares are difficult to achieve and I’ve never worried about them – but a guide stops you producing some totally loopy unworkable blob!
Next stage is to spread on the filling ( in this case dates simmered in lemon juice, honey and a little cinnamon )
It looks a little gooey as you can see- and in this case I think I kind of overdid the filling. However, once it is rolled up – it looks fine.
Once rolled and chilled for an hour- all that you need to do is slice and bake! Here are results
Now for the recipe -( I have made these with orange instead of lemon – the flavours combine well – never be afraid to experiment!)
Date and Lemon Spirals
225g/80z unsalted butter
175g/60z caster sugar
1 egg yolk lightly beaten
1 tsp lemon extract
280g/10oz. plain flour
2 tbsp clear honey
5 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
125ml/4 fl oz water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5
Put the butter and 140 g /5 0z of the sugar into a bowl and mix well. Stir in the egg yolk and lemon extract until well absorbed. Sift in the flour and salt until thoroughly combined. Roll into a ball – wrap in cling-film and chill for 30 mins.
Meanwhile put the dates, honey, lemon juice and grated rind into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring often to stop the dates sticking, finally reduce the heat and let simmer for five minutes. Ideally the dates will have formed a kind of paste – if not add more water or a little more honey. Chill the mix for 15 minutes.
Mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Roll out the dough ( See above for help with this) It should be roughly a 12″ square – but don’t stress on this – all you need is something vaguely square or rectangular so you don’t waste pastry when you roll it up.
Once rolled, cover with clingfilm and chill for 60 mins. Unwrap and slice – the mix makes around 20 – 24 slices. Place the slices on baking trays lined with parchment and bake for 12-15 mins. the dough should be tinged golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then transfer to cooling trays.
If you need to – they will keep in an airtight container – but maybe you will find they have been eaten before you know it.
Other ‘Dervish’ cookies will follow soon……….