I thought of this recipe for a couple of reasons
1 – The temperatures here in Spain
2 – The pastry making from last week’s recipe
Last week I encouraged you readers to have a go at making pastry. I also suggested a recipe that should help with the technique of “rubbing in”, something common to many types of pastry. Today’s recipe also helps to practise the basics as well as being one of the easiest pastries to play with. It is a robust type of pastry requiring little care when being rolled out.
As most of you will have gathered by now, I live in Spain. Last week the highest temperature ever recorded was reached, 47ºC. Climate Change I hear you ask?…. who knows. As per my comments in the past I think we should take care of our planet, climate change or no. It just doesn’t seem like we ought to risk the only planet we have! I always have something baked on-hand for a nibble mid morning or mid afternoon. We find this recipe is good for hot weather as these whirls keep much better at this time. Other cakes and biscuits I make are more liable to go off.
The name of the recipe itself takes me back to the farms and farmhouses of Winewall and Colne, the area where I grew up. Although I am talking of the 1960’s and 1970’s, in many ways these farmhouses had remained stuck in time. The next door farmer for example used a Victorian washing dolly to wash his clothes then a mangle to extrude the water. A man, who we called “Dan Dan the Lavatory Man”, would come by from time to time and empty out the long drop toilet from the farm and indeed some of the houses just down the road.
In my early teens I used to work on the farm of a close friend’s family. The farm was primarily a dairy farm with some sheep. The whole family, and any temporary labourers, had the custom of gathering around the farmhouse table for a meal in the late afternoon, to refuel the body before the evening milking routine. I loved the time I sat around that table, a table covered with all manner of homemade breads, cakes, biscuits and jams, and all in great abundance. For a growing lad it was a delightful and ful-filling place to be!
I would like to think I helped, but in spite of my keenness, perhaps a such young worker was more of a problem than a help in their finely oiled farm machine. I would help “muck out” of an evening and other odd jobs around the farm. My use of what for many might be an unknown phrasal verb, leads me on to a recent article in the Daily Mail on cow’s fecal matter. The article in question, although quite short, uses three different words for a cow’s waste products!
In my article on Tocino de Cielo I gave thought to the idea that the more words a society has to describe something, then the more important it is to that society. Perhaps cow faeces is more important to farmers than we think? The article in question talks about a Yorkshire farmer who has built an “Anaerobic Digester” that converts his cow’s slurry into electricity. Whilst he is selling milk at a loss, the slurry is generating him around 1,000 pounds a day via the sale of electricity to the National (electricity) Grid. Perhaps cow excrement is more important than I thought!
In a similar vein to previous comments of mine, I have to say that there is something wrong with a world when we have people starving and yet farmers can’t make a living from milk production, but they can from cow poop………
Anyway I will end my weekly diatribe on a happier note, think of the happy times I spent in farmhouse kitchens and leave you with this recipe for farmhouse whirls:
Serves: 12 whirls
225g Plain flour (W200)
50g Caster Sugar
15ml Baking powder
If you store the butter in the fridge, bring out out a little before starting the recipe. It needs to be chilled and shouldn’t be soft, but you don’t want it like a brick either!
Sift together the flour, salt, caster sugar and baking powder.
Dice the butter.
Rub in the butter.
Add the milk and cut in until if forms a dough.
For more information on making pastry please see:
Roll out the dough to around 35cm by 25cm.
Melt the butter and brush onto the dough. Sprinkle with lots of Demerara sugar and cinnamon.
Roll up carefully along the long edge to form a tightly rolled pastry log.
Cut the roll into 2.5cm thick slices.
Place these pastry discs cut side down onto a lightly greased baking tray.
Bake in a preheated oven at 230°C for 10 to 15 minutes and the whirls are golden brown.
I have also made these with bread dough.
Sometimes I have some dough left over from when I am making a pizza for example. I just roll the dough out, nice and thin. Just follow the recipe above to fill, roll, cut and bake these dough whirls.
The baked dough whirls don’t last as long as the pastry ones and go stale relatively quickly….. but if you eat them up quickly they are delicious and it is one less food item going into the bin.
My suggestion this week is for Ginger Crunch. It is another recipe from my youth and one that I still enjoy today:
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
Imperial to Metric Measurement:
1 oz – 28g
1 lb – 16 oz – 454g
1 gill – ¼ pint – 142ml
1 inch – 25mm
Common Flour Types:
Gluten: 8% to 10%
Type: ES 70W
All-Purpose Flour / Plain Flour
Gluten: 8% to 11%
Type: DE 550 / FR 55 / IT 0 / ES 200W
Bread Flour / Strong Flour / Hard Flour
Gluten: 12% to 14% protein (gluten)
Type: DE 812 / FR 80 / IT 1 / ES 400W
2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge