It is said that good things come to those who wait, and it’s certainly true where these little beauties are concerned!
Arlettes was the bake I opted to challenge myself with for GBBO’s biscuit week (S6, W2).
It was either that or the signature dish of biscotti; I must admit it was a close run thing but given that Paul’s Technical Challenge of Arlettes contained cinnamon, the decision was made and these beautiful butter rich biscuits were attempted!
Arlettes was the technical challenge set by the Bake Off’s very own Silver Fox, Paul Hollywood. I’d never heard of Arlettes until the GBBO episode, so having done a little reading about them I found out that they are a French biscuit originating from the South of France at the start of the 1900s.
They are made from puff pastry, but reversed in that the butter encases the dough. It is rolled out and folded several times to build up the lamination layers of butter and dough.
I must admit they do take a wee while to make, due to the amount of chilling time required, but the actual hands on time is relatively minimal.
They are a little challenging to make; but where would the fun be if the contestants were given something easy to make! Though it you fancy making these; don’t let that put you off, simply take your time and give it a go, and aim to keep the butter nice and cool through out most of the recipe.
These biscuits are simply scrummy; they are crisp, light, buttery, and slightly caramelised with a little hint of cinnamon. I can imagine they’d be great made with other spices too, such as cardamom.
They were so good with my pot of tea, and they would be fabulous served with some ice cream. I must admit they are a little on the large size, the largest measured 27cm long! You’d need a big biscuit barrel to house that and probably more than one cup of your favourite beverage to accompany that ‘little’ dude!
This batch is meant to make 12 but I only managed to make 9 of these beauties because I didn’t slice them narrow enough once the pastry had been rolled up (hence their large size). With that in mind, I’ve slightly altered the dimension guide for rolling the pastry before shaping into a sausage, thus making it easier to slice into 12 discs.
So let’s get to it and bake.
For the dough
- 60 g (2¼oz) strong white bread flour plus extra for rolling
- 60 g (2¼oz) plain flour (all purpose)
- 40 g (1½oz) butter melted
- 50 ml cold water
For the butter layer
- 125 g (4oz) butter softened
- 25 g (1oz) strong white bread flour
- 25 g (1oz) plain flour (all-purpose)
For the filling
- 50 g (2oz) golden granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
forrolling and shaping
- icing sugar (confectioners sugar) to dust
- cling film
- Baking parchemnet
- Rolling Pin
To make the dough
- Place 60g (2¼oz) each bread and plain flours into a bowl mix to combine then make a well in the centre. Pour in 40g (1½oz) melted butter and 50ml (2floz) water. Using your hand combine the liquid and flour together to make a dough.
- Place the dough onto a well floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until it is soft and smooth. Shape the dough into a 10cm (4in)square. Wrap in cling film and chill for about 40 – 45 minutes.
To prepare the butter layer
- Beat 125g (4oz) softened butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Add 25g (1oz) each bread and plain flour and mix well. Place the butter mixture onto a long sheet of greaseproof paper and place another sheet on top. Flatten the mixture a little with your hand then use a rolling pin to roll the mixture to a 30cm x 10cm. (12x4in) rectangle. Once rolled out chill for about 25 minutes.
To make the Arlettes
- Remove the butter mixture from the fridge and place it onto a well floured work surface, peeling off the parchment. Place the dough into the centre of the mixture and use the flaps of butter to fully encase the dough. Roll the mixture into a long oblong 35cm – 40cm (14-16in) long.
- Bring the top edge to the centre and then bring the bottom edge to the centre. Fold the pastry mixture in half along the join line. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 25 minutes.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and place unwrapped onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pastry out againas before and repeat the fold procedure. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a further 25 minutes.
- Mix 50g (2oz) sugar and 2tsp cinnamon together in a bowl. Remove the pastry from the fridge, unwrap it and roll the pastry out into a long oblong as before on a lightly floured work surface. Scatter with the cinnamon and sugar mixture over the pastry ensuring the you go right to the edges.
- Fold as before. Roll the pastry out again,to form a 25×15 cm (10x6in) rectangle. Roll up tightly from the short end like a Swiss rol.Wrap tightly in and chill for a further 25 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6. Remove the pastry from the fridge and unwrap. Trim the edges with a sharp knife to neaten. Slice into 12 slices.
- Dust the work surface liberally with icing sugar, roll out each slice until very thin, dusting. with more icing sugar if necessary. Place the biscuits ontop baking tarys lined with parchment.
- Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the biscuits over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Cool. Once the biscuits are baked through and crisp, slide them carefully onto a baking tray to cool. Repeat with the remain slices until all the biscuits are cooked.