Homemade membrillo is a delicious filling for these buttery biscuits - and baking is a great way to fill a rainy day over the summer holidays
We hardly ever make biscuits. In term time, whimsical activities such as biscuit-baking don't get a look in, as the sturdier demands of breakfast, lunch and dinner are all-consuming. But, with the summer holidays stretching out, we're cooking even more than usual.
Still in pyjamas with the clock well past 11am, we made biscuits together one morning - a suitably indulgent way to fill another day of the holidays. We sandwiched together and baked the biscuits with some apricot membrillo I had made the day before. You can, of course, use apricot jam, but have a go at making having this sweet/sharp, dense apricot paste. It is a delicious and versatile ingredient, especially nice served with cheese and crackers. Stored in the fridge, it will keep very well for up to a month.
500g stoned apricots, chopped
200g peeled and cored bramley apple, sliced
Sugar in equal amounts to your sieved fruit
Put the apricot and the apple in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a moderate heat and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes until pulpy and completely soft.
Pass the mixture through a sieve, weigh it and put in a clean saucepan - mine weighed 450g.
Add the same weight of sugar to the fruit and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and continue to cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 15-20 minutes.
The membrillo is ready when the mixture is considerably thicker and the spoon leaves a thick trail through it.
Pour into a container and leave to cool and set.
(Makes 12 biscuits)
125g plain white flour
75g icing sugar
Small pinch salt
150 unsalted butter, diced
50g ground almonds
4 tbsp membrillo or apricot jam
In a large bowl, sieve the flour, icing sugar and salt together, then rub in the butter until it reaches a sand-like consistency.
Add the ground almonds and bring the dough together swiftly with your hands. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.
Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark two.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 3mm thickness and stamp out 8cm rounds. Cut a 4.5cm hole in the middle of every other round ro make rings.
Place a teaspoon of membrillo in the middle of each uncut round, then place a pastry ring on top.
Pastry trim can be gathered up and made into more biscuits, though be wary of the dough getting too warm, as it can be tricky to roll.
Chill on a tray for 10 minutes before baking for about 15-20 minutes, until golden and crisp.
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Apricot and almond biscuits. Photograph: Claire Thomson for the Guardian