At the writing group this afternoon, when it was tea/coffee time, I had a plate of biscuits, dark chocolate digestives, and shortbread. Later I wondered if I could make my own biscuits, and as I had my old Modern Practical Cookery book just beside me, I looked up some ninety year old recipes, which i thought might be interesting. The first recipe in the index was for biscuit cream – which I thought must be what you sandwich biscuits together with – but I was wrong – biscuit cream is a dessert, layers of jelly, crushed biscuits and cream. Next was banana biscuit sandwiches – for the children a note said. Mashed banana, more biscuit crumbs, mixed together and sandwiched between arrowroot biscuits – something definitely for the historical novel I think!
There were fourteen recipes for biscuits – some we might find in cookery books today such as almond, coconut, ginger and shortbread, but others which are more unusual, including soda rings; I’m very sensitive to soda in baked goods so I really wouldn’t like those at all! French biscuits are a very simple recipe, flavoured with vanilla and decorated with crystallised rose petals – very pretty I should think! I thought Valentine biscuits would be pink and flavoured with strawberries or raspberries, or sandwiched together with strawberry or raspberry jam, but no, they are merely cut into heart shapes.
Four o’clock tea biscuits – these are filled biscuits, and sound a little like Eccles cakes as the filling is currants, sultanas and lemon zest, the tops slashed and sprinkled with sugar. These sound rather nice and I might try making some! Rout biscuits sounded most mysterious but they are made with ground almonds and crystallised cherries and when I tried to find out more about them I discovered that they are an old and traditional biscuit dating back to the eighteenth century. Jane Austen and Thackeray mention them many times. A rout was a party, and rout cakes and biscuits were small tasty little biscuits.
Here is some interesting information, and an illustration of rout cakes and biscuits:
A ‘rout’ by the way was a party!