I’m smiling to myself right now as I remember the table in my grandma and grandpa’s lounge where as a child, on Easter Sunday, my chocolate eggs were placed. A ridiculous amount of them. Some with my name on, some with smaller chocolates inside. All eaten far too quickly. I can also recall hot cross buns though, toasted under my grandma’s gas grill, slightly charred at the edges and dripping with melted butter. And big, golden, round, scalloped edged, crumbly biscuits, with a fine cap of caster sugar that used to get stuck on my top lip, eaten straight from the white paper bag. Easter biscuits, bought from the bakery once a year.
Easter might just top Christmas as a treat laden holiday, full of specially dedicated morsels. The weekend seems full of family feasts and over indulgence. Maybe it’s because of the preplanning involved in what’s going to fill the table, shops being closed for a portion of the time, or perhaps it’s due to there being four consecutive holiday days in a row, enough time to start to unwind, relax over long meals and enjoy respite from the everyday.
Punctuating holidays of the year with recipes, might be why certain foods are remembered so fondly, because they are only enjoyed for a brief moment on the calendar. Memories are made more vivid as anticipation builds around special dishes and the days that they are paired with. My life in Sydney is now highlighted by a Good Friday dawn trip to the fish markets to procure an assortment of seafood. Bright orange, rainbow scaled and filigree fringed creatures from the sea are prepared without haste for a long, lazy family lunch. A far cry from the roast beef and Yorkshire puddings that was served throughout my childhood. But the biscuits. Well somehow, they still taste the same.
Traditional Easter biscuits
- 200g butter at room temperature
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 400g plain flour
- 1 level tsp vanilla powder
- 1 level tsp ground cinnamon
- 2-4 tbsp milk
- 100g currants
- A little caster sugar for sprinkling
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. With the mixer still running, add the yolks. When they are incorporated, stop the mixer and add the flour, spices and milk. Turn the mixer back on to a low speed and mix until the flour is just incorporated. If it looks too dry, add a little more milk. The mixture shouldn’t look crumbly. It shouldn’t look too sticky either. Tip in the currants, let the paddle turn a few more times and then remove the dough to a well floured surface.
Using a sprinkling of flour here and there so that the dough is easy to handle, roll it out to a thickness of about 2-4cm. Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles of dough and place the discs on a paper lined baking tray. Before baking, sprinkle the biscuits with caster sugar.
Bake at160C for 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are golden, remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little more caster sugar. Enjoy.