I love baking, and I love sampling the end product, but I am an exceptionally lazy baker. I don’t like tortuously complicated recipes which require every bowl and kitchen utensil I own, and I don’t like having to shop for huge lists of unusual ingredients. This latter dislike has only surfaced in earnest whilst I’ve been living in Brunei. Certain seemingly run-of-the-mill baking staples that you take for granted in the UK – like marzipan, vanilla extract, and good quality dark chocolate, just for starters – are impossible to find out here.
So when hunting down my next recipe to try I am usually looking for something amazingly yummy, but quick and easy to make with the minimum of ingredients. I found a recipe on seriouseats.com for apricot-orange swirls which looked pretty promising. Home-made biscuits are always well received by my other half!
I tweaked the original recipe a bit to put my own stamp on it, and converted the measurements into metric equivalents. I think one of the secrets of success is not to be too much of a perfectionist about creating flawless pinwheels. Life is too short, and the lumpy, lopsided ones tasted just as good!
The biscuits are cooked at the same time but created in two batches because you are rolling them from two separate balls of dough. I rolled the pastry for the second batch less thinly and cut slightly wider sections off the roulade. I think these chunkier pinwheels made for better biscuits. But I think that depends on whether you prefer your biscuits thin and crunchy or bigger and chewier. In our household on this occasion, chewy won the day. Not that the crunchy ones hung around long either.
Frankly, I think that apricot-orange swirls is a rather insipid name for such a zesty morsel of fruity, sweet deliciousness. So I am renaming them Sunshine Swirls. A much more fitting name for a recipe with citrussy mood-boosting, feel-good flavours at its heart. Try them, they are easy but very moreish…you have been warned!
- 260 grams plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 170 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200 grams white granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 8 tablespoons of good quality apricot jam
- Mix together flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and orange juice. Add the flour mixture in two parts, beating until each is well combined and scraping down side of bowl between additions. An electric mixer makes light work of all of this, but by all means do it by hand it you prefer your baking sessions to be a workout!
- Divide the dough into two equal sized balls. Wrap each in cling film and chill in the fridge for one hour.
- Mix the apricot jam and orange zest together and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease two non-stick baking trays.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out one of the dough balls into a roughly rectangular shape, approximately 25cm by 10 cm. Spread half of the orange zesty jam all over the rolled-out pastry, then work with the length of the rectangle, rolling it tightly up into a roulade. Using a sharp knife, slice off 2cm thick rounds of pastry, place them on the tray with their pinwheel centre upwards and press down lightly to re-shape if necessary.
- Repeat the whole process with the second ball of dough.
- Place the trays in the oven and bake for 17-20 mins. Remove and cool on a wire rack before scoffing an obscene amount by mid-morning with yet another cup of tea!