Storecupboard baking: Garibaldi biscuits

Er, there were some Garibaldi biscuits there. Unfortunately they were so good we ate 77% of them before I got round to taking a pic.

Garibaldi biscuits are one of the things I make when I have nothing in my cupboards. (The other is banana bread). Given this fact, I’m surprised I don’t make them more often, because I often have nothing in my cupboards.

Do you know who I dream of being? You know the 'pantry staples' lists at the start of cookbooks, telling you that in order to rustle up a gourmet meal after work you should have certain foodstuffs in your kitchen? It usually goes pasta, capers, San Marzano canned tomatoes, anchovies, soy sauce, lemons, balsamic vinegar, couscous, pesto, walnuts, artichokes etc? I dream of being that person, the person who actually has all the pantry staples at hand. My mother is that person – you should see the endless ingredients in the floor-to-ceiling cupboards in my parents' kitchen. It’s like they just returned from a round-the-world culinary journey. I am so not that person. I am always missing half the recipe.

Which is why I end up baking a lot of things like banana bread and Garibaldi biscuits. Things that do not require a lot of fancy ingredients. Things I might actually be able to whip up after work without a trip to Sainsbury’s Local.

Given the name (and the fact that my recipe comes from an Italian cookbook) you’d think these little gems are Italian. But they’re actually a British classic, invented by famous biscuit maker John Carr in Victorian times, and named after the famous Italian general who had made a visit to the UK in 1854. Given that this was a commercially produced cookie from the get-go, it’s kind of interesting that so many recipes for homemade ones exist. If you think about it it’s actually a bit like baking your own Oreos or custard creams. So maybe instead of going to the trouble of baking these, even though I do have the ingredients handy, I should admit defeat and go buy a package at Sainsbury’s Local.

Garibaldi Biscuits
From Ursula Ferrigno’s Complete Italian Cookery Course

115 g plain flour
85 g unsalted butter
55 g caster sugar, plus a little extra to finish
115 g dried currants
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Grease a non-stick jelly roll tin (about 7×11 in), or if using a tin without non-stick properties, line with parchment paper so it overhangs on two sides of the tin.)

Place the flour, sugar and butter in a medium bowl and rub the butter in using your fingertips until it is evenly distributed throughout. Stir in the currants. Add almost all of the beaten egg to bind everything together and form a soft, but not sticky, dough.

Turn the dough into the tin and press down so the surface is even. Brush all over with the remaining egg and sprinkle with the extra sugar, to taste.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. When it is out of the oven cut into as many squares as you want, and leave to cool before eating.