I came across a recipe for rout biscuits in Modern Practical Cookery yesterday – the book was published some time around 1930, but rout biscuits are much older, much older by a few hundred years! They are small mouthfuls of yum as far as I can gather, decorated to look pretty for a party, because that was what they were usually made for, a jolly gathering!
This is the recipe as it is written:
- 4 oz of ground almonds
- 5 oz of icing sugar
- 1 teaspoonful of lemon-juice
- 1 teaspoonful of flour
- 1 egg
- 1 oz of crystallised cherries
FOR THE ICING
- 2 oz of icing sugar
- 1 dessertspoonful of lemon juice
Rub the icing sugar and flour through a hair sieve and add the ground almonds.
Mix them together and bind them into a fairly stiff paste by stirring in a well-beaten egg and the lemon juice.
Do not have the mixture either too stiff or too soft. If it is too stiff it will be very hard to force it through a bag, and if it is too soft the biscuits will not keep their shape.
For the shaping, a linen icing bag is needed and a very large pattern icing tube, the kind that is sometimes used for decorating dishes with mashed potato.
Put the paste into the bag, shake it well down and twist the top of the bag. As you do so the paste will be forced out.
Shape the mixture into rounds on a floured baking-sheet. If preferred they can be forced in straight lines or like a letter S. Bake in a moderate oven for twenty minutes.
Decorate the biscuits with half a teaspoonful of icing dropped into the centre of the round ones, and stick half a cherry on top.
TO MAKE THE ICING – sift the icing sugar, and put it in a small saucepan with the lemon juice.
Mix them smoothly and stir in the icing sugar and stir the icing over the gas for about six seconds or till it is liquid enough to pour.
To make about sixteen biscuits
TO MAKE FANCY BISCUITS WITHOUT A FORCER
Wet a small teaspoon and with it take a spoonful of the biscuit mixture described above. Smooth it over with a wet knife, shaping it like a tiny meringue.
Push it gently onto a floured tin with the point of a knife.
Bake the biscuits in a moderate oven for fifteen or twenty minutes.
When cold, spread the underside of each biscuit with jam and stick two biscuits together.
The ordinary metal icing pump can be used for this mixture if preferred but without any icing tube. It will make plain round biscuits when forced out.
After placing the biscuits on a greased tin it is best to leave tehm for twenty minutes before baking, as they will then keep a better shape and look more professional.
Biscuits should be baked in a moderate oven and not allowed to get brown, only lightly coloured.
They are cooked when the underside is a pale golden colour.
Phew! What a lot of instructions for a very basic biscuit. The timing seems long for such small amounts – a small teaspoonful of mixture in the oven for 15-20 mins? And a moderate oven which is 160º C, 320º F, gas mark 3? They sound a little like biscuits my mum used to make which she called Viennese shortcakes – I don’t know what her recipe was, but one I’ve found on-line is more like traditional shortbread, not the same at all as mum’s! I’ve mentioned before that her mum used the same Be-Ro cookery booklet as she did and as I do, and in the old 1930’s edition, the little girl on the cover did look very much like my mum! Below is mum, my featured image is the Be-Ro girl!