Sunday, 21 October 2012

Peek Freans Pink Freens

03/01/13: I have renamed these since they are not actually a Peek Frean biscuit.  They're just inspired by a description of one.  Since writing this recipe, I found what I think is the biscuit they are talking about, which is a Fruit Creme.  My biscuit is a bit different, hence a slightly different name.  It's what the fiancé keeps calling them. 

So some people may remember that way back in May, I attempted to make a biscuit inspired by something I heard in the television series Fringe.  This biscuit being a 'Peek Frean', which was described as a vanilla wafer with a lemon cream and raspberry centre. I was unable to find a recipe for such a thing and decided to concoct my own instead.  Unfortunately it was a failure, at least for me.  I thought the filling was too sweet.  The fiancé enjoyed them though and finished the entire batch off himself, so at least they weren't wasted.

Anyway, recently I was checking the statistical information for this blog and found I've been getting a few hits on that particularly page of late and a number of people stumbling upon my blog looking for a recipe for Peek Freans.  I admit I felt a bit bad for not having any such recipe on that page and so last night, I decided I would attempt it again.  Of course, this meant I needed fondant.  I was thinking something like the ready to roll fondant you can get in supermarkets, but I did not feel like trekking out to one to get it.  So instead I thought I could make it from scratch.  I had a recipe I wanted to try in my sweet making book, but it requires a resting period of 12 hours, so I was making that at 10pm, dressed in pyjamas, so that it could be ready to use today.

I admit, I was a bit nervous about the fondant.  I really wasn't sure if I would pull it off since it required a sugar syrup and my track record with that hasn't been the best.  I usually burn at least one batch each time.  But this time I got it on the first try!  I was so pleased.  The actual working of the sugar syrup afterwards though was exhausting.  It takes quite a while and becomes harder the stiffer it gets.  And then I had a strange period where it suddenly went crumbly, so I added a little water and it went too soft and got stuck to my hands.  I had to get the fiancé to help me scrape it off using a butter knife.  I succeeded in the end though and I was very proud.  It's always a very pleasing feeling to make something from scratch well on the first go.

As for the biscuit part, I went through one of my biscuit books and found a recipe for jam rings, which looked perfect.  A simple vanilla biscuit that could be cut into shapes.  In theory anyway.  For some reason the dough is ridiculously sticky.  I was adding so much flour to it when rolling it out to stop it sticking to everything.  I ended up with some slightly wonky shapes as a result but the final product was still very delicious and worked well.  I admit, because I'd only made half a batch of fondant, I didn't have enough to fill all the biscuits so I just coated my remaining biscuits with chocolate, or sandwiched them together with jam.  But if I'd made a full batch, I would have filled them all, hence I'll be doing that next time.

So...was it a success?  Oh indeed it was!  They were so scrummy.  The fiancé likes them and says they are better than the last batch.  He really likes the fondant filling.  I like them too!  Not too sweet but lovely and creamy and the soft filling and the crunchy biscuit is so good!  I was very very happy.  So this time, you do get a recipe. 

Recipe - Makes 18

Fondant - adapted from The Home-Made Sweet Shop
  • 400g/14oz caster sugar
  • 150ml/5fl.oz water 
The fondant needs to rest for 12 hours when making from scratch, so prepare it the day before you want to make the biscuits.
If you don't want to make your fondant, you need about 400g/14oz ready to roll fondant icing from the supermarket and skip to the biscuits.
  1. Prepare an ice bath and moisten a baking tray or marble slab with water.  Also moisten a metal scraper (or in my case, a cake slicer) and wooden or rubber spatula.  Keep a wet butter knife on hand just in case and a bowl of cold water.
  2. Make the fondant by putting the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and heating until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and allow to cook until the syrup reaches a temperature of 114°C/238°F (soft ball stage).
  4. Arrest the cooking by placing the saucepan in the ice bath and then quickly pour the syrup onto the damp tray/slab and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  5. Using the metal scraper, start scooping the edges of the syrup into the centre of the pool until it becomes glossy.  If it gets stuck to the scraper, use the wet knife to scrape it off.  You may want to re-dampen the scraper every once in a while.
  6. Switch to the wooden/rubber spatula and start to move it through the syrup in a figure of eight pattern, scooping it up and pushing it along as you go.  Keep doing this until the syrup goes from being easy to move and transparent to very thick and opaque white.  This does take a long time and you will get sore arms.
  7. When mixture is the right appearance, knead it until you can feel no hard lumps and you have a nice, smooth paste.
  8. Put the paste in slightly damp bowl, cover with a clean, damp cloth and put in the fridge to rest for 12 hours.
Biscuits - adapted from Cookie Jar
  • 225g/8oz softened butter
  • 140g/5oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 280g/10oz plain flour, plus extra on hand for overly sticky dough
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Make the dough for the biscuits by first separating the egg and putting the white to one side.
  2. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix together.
  3. Lightly beat the egg yolk and add it and the vanilla extract to sugar butter and mix.
  4. Sift in the salt and flour and mix.
  5. Split the dough in half, roll each half into a ball and wrap them in clingfilm.  Put them in the fridge to rest for 30-60 minutes.
  6. Remove from the fridge and let sit for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 and line 3 baking trays with parchment.  Flour the work surface and rolling pin, and have more flour on hand in case the dough gets sticky.  
  7. Roll the dough out until it's about 5mm/0.25inch thick and cut out circles using a 5.5cm/2.2inch fluted cookie cutter.  Transfer to the baking sheets.  You should get 18 pairs of biscuits from the dough.
  8. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove, brush with the egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar.  Bake for a further 5-8 minutes, until the edges of the biscuits are slightly brown.
  9. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  • 400g/14oz fondant
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Pink and yellow food colouring
  1. Put the jam into a saucepan and heat.  You want to remove as much moisture as possible, aiming for about half the amount of jam you started with.  Set aside to cool to room temperature. 
  2. Divide the fondant in half and place the half not being used into a bag to stop it drying out.
  3. Dust the work surface with icing sugar.  
  4. Knead the fondant until it is soft and pliable, then add the lemon extract and a few drops of yellow colouring.  Knead the fondant again to mix the flavouring and colour into it.  Place in a bag to keep fresh.
  5. Knead the other half of the fondant.  Cut slits in it and spread the jam into the slits, along with a few drops of pink colouring.  Dust with icing sugar and then knead in to mix the colour and jam into the fondant.  The jam will make it sticky so you'll need to keep adding icing sugar to it until it no longer sticks to your hands.
  6. Roll the pink fondant out and use a 4cm/1.6inch cutter to cut out circles.  Place the circles on top of the underside of half the biscuits.
  7. Do the same with the yellow fondant, placing the circles on top of the pink.
  8. Place the remaining biscuits on top and very gently press together.


  1. I made it but without filling, it,s delicious
    thank you

    1. Oh good, I'm so glad you thought so! The biscuits are rather lovely on their own aren't they?