Tudor Jumbles


Week 8: Tudor Week – Tudor Jumbles

16th century knot biscuits cooked to a simple, representative recipe.  The contestants cooked 12 Jumbles – 6 delicate Celtic knots and 6 denser knot balls, which should be crisp on the outside and softer in the centre

These may have been an example of Elizabethan decadence but these aren’t the most difficult biscuits to pull off, & much easier than last week!  If you prep the dough in a mixer you should be able to turn this around in an hour.

So what to change this week…  Looking at the history of the Knot Biscuit or Jumble ( or Jamble, Jumbal, Jambal, Jumboll, Jumbolds, Jumballs, Jemelloe or Gemmel) its clear that there are plenty of variations out there, and it’s not just about the shape they are worked in to.  The oldest recipes don’t seem to contain butter, spices and flavourings varied and many follow the route to the traditional ‘bi scuit’, or ‘twice cooked’, having an initial poach in boiling water before baking.

I can’t quite see why I’d spend time making intricate shaped biscuits which end up 6 inches wide, so I’ve stuck with a double knot and my own combination of flavours (I’ve been looking for another use for those caraway seeds ever since I made rye bread), but the big experiment here is, how does a poached & baked version differ from a single baked biscuit?

As they say, Baketh…

Makes about 15

Ingredients

  • 150g Golden Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Caraway Seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 65g Butter
  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 2 tbsp Cream Sherry
  • 2 Eggs

Method

  • Cream together the sugar, butter and spices
  • Rub in the flour until evenly mixed
  • Add the eggs, sherry and enough water to bring the dough together
  • Break the dough out into approx 50g balls and roll into even lengths, about 25cm long
  • Tie into a knot of your choice!
  • IF YOU ARE PRE-BOILING:
    • Drop into a pan of lightly boiling water, 2-3 at a time for about 1 minute each.  Ensure they don;t stick to the bottom. Remove from the water, draining off any excess, and place onto a well grease tray.  Sprinkle with sugar
  • OTHERWISE:
    • Place onto a well grease tray.  Sprinkle with sugar
  • Bake in a preheated oven, 160oC Fan, for about 25 minutes or until golden
  • Remove to a wire rack to cool

Comments & Conclusions

  • The Tudors were easily pleased. For ‘modern tastes’ I’d recommend boosting the flavours and potentially add a little more sugar
  • Tweak with a choice of flavours – vanilla, almond, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, lemon, even some chocolate chips (but don’t poach!)
  • The poached version don’t look that appealing when the first come out of the water, but cook with a very nice glaze
  • Beware – the poached versions stuck to the tray. Grease very well!
  • Overall, the poached versions looked the best, but had a very slightly chewy crust, unlike the crisp crust of the single bake.  Entirely personal preference but I really wouldn’t bother patching in the future
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