Some biscuits and cookies have stood the test of time and become a truly classic fare. Recently I was going through a book named “Biscuits, Pastries and Cookies of the world” by Aaron Maree that included some tempting dessert and tea time treats from each part of the world. Slowly I learnt that, the nature of tea and treats served are morphed into a classic English Style in different forms in different parts of the world. This made me once again peep into our local chai culture.
My experience with tea only brings me with a rigorous form of afternoon tea along with some freshly made pakora or Vada and biscuits. Once you get into the “tea area”, the term tea time itself throws a cheerful gesture to the concept of high tea that is mostly followed in government official places and fancy hotels. High tea term itself is loaded with class symbolism. This British tradition still survives in some hotels and tea boutiques for the benefit of tourists who wouldn’t mind being entertained with loads of bakery products and tea. Nobody bothers about it now days as it’s the regular fare of tea and few biscuits in the afternoon, is all that is preferred in every home.
I have always enjoyed my tea with deep fried snacks of pakoras, vadas, mathris, murukkus and the basic Marie and Nice biscuits. All these contrasted nicely with the not so sweet tea at home. One more attraction were the bakery biscuits like the Nankhatai, flower biscuits that was the fancy name given by the local bakers, which was nothing but a piped shortbread rosette cookie topped with a jam drop in the centre and the humble square tutti frutti biscuits or called the Karachi biscuits. (similar to the world-famous Karachi brand biscuits)
The tutti frutti biscuit or the Karachi biscuits recently shot to fame once again after protest over the Pulwama attack, where the protestors forced the shop to cover the name “Karachi” on its signboard. This delicious melt in the mouth biscuits that are dotted with tutti frutti will make you laser focused only to its ambrosial taste and not into any crazy controversial matters. So, lets continue to uphold the true greatness of our afternoon tea in its Indianness by bringing on our real tea time treats of Tutti Frutti biscuits, chai and pakoras.
I have always enjoyed baking these biscuits, which are filled with tutti frutti and flavoured with pineapple essence. Tutti frutti is nothing but dried candied papaya very commonly used in Indian baked items. The recipe is very simple to prepare, very soft when baked but crisps up as it cools down. Like the Sweet Raisin Rolls or the Danish Rolls, the tutti frutti biscuits was so popular and frequently bought at home that you can say I grew up with them.
- All-purpose flour or Maida- 200 gms
- Custard powder- 50 gms
- Powdered sugar – 120 gms
- Butter/ vegetable fat or ghee 115 gms
- Tutti frutti – half cup
- Baking powder- half teaspoon.
- Pineapple essence- half teaspoon.
- Milk – 3-4 tablespoons or as required.
- Take a wide mixing bowl. Cream butter or fat with powdered sugar by beating well until its pale white and creamy in texture.
- Sieve in the flour, custard powder and baking powder to this creamed butter mix.
- Fold in the flour well with the butter by adding the tutti frutti and essence to it.
- Combine together to mix well and form into a dough.
- Add in spoonful of milk to bring in the dough together if it is falling apart.
- Divide the dough equally and roll into a log. Flatten each log side by side to form into a square shaped log.
- Cover each of them in a butter paper or cling wrap. Refrigerate it for at least an hour as the dough becomes very firm.
- Once the dough is chilled and firm, take out each log and cut it into half inch squares with a sharp knife.
- Place the biscuit squares to a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for 10-14 minutes.
- Allow them to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before transferring onto a cooking rack or sheet.
- The recipe gives you approximately two dozen cookies.
Read on before you bake…..
For the dough I have used the regular store-bought yellow custard powder, but you can still use cornflour. It won’t make much difference except for the light-yellow colour of the biscuits. Use good quality custard powder for the biscuits.
While combining the dough use only cold milk spoon by spoon to form a dough. Do not add the milk all at once as it will change the biscuit texture. Do not knead the dough. It should just be combined well.
You can keep the dough chilled in the refrigerator for more than an hour. Once the dough is prepared You can always leave it for a day and bake them as time permits you. But it is very important to chill the dough for at least an hour. Do not freeze the dough.
Once baked, do not remove immediately from the baking tray as the biscuits are very soft and will crumble. Cooling slowly will help it crisp up. I would suggest you to use two trays for baking as one goes into the oven while the other one allows the baked biscuits to cool on it.
So now as you have the recipe, you can get to baking and have these delicious biscuits with a cup of tea.
Happy Baking and Be healthy!!!
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