Once we had collected our biscuits - only squashed flys on Saturdays, which I think is hardly worth it, though Daisy loves them - Daisy and I shook off the rest of the third form and went in search of Jones...
Murder Most Unladylike, Robin Stevens
My sister Lucy and I grew up with a very large number of grandparents. Our parents are divorced, and both remarried, and some of their parents are too. They all lived in our around Brisbane when we were growing up, and so were a large part of our childhood. My great-grandmother, my granny's mum, lived on her own in a house quite near us. My memories of her almost all revolve around food: like the Christmas puddings that hung from broomsticks around her dining room for six months of the year.
She also always had a packet of squashed fly biscuits in the tea cupboard. Lucy and I were intrigued by them; their name alone was enough to guarantee our interest. But, like Hazel, in the quote above, they never appealed very much when it came to the eating of them. I'd always rather put my hand into the jar that held Iced Vovos instead. But, as I grew up, I came to love them. They remind me a bit of my beloved Eccles cakes, full of spiced currants, and sweet on top.
I read Murder Most Unladylike recently, after it was recommended by a friend. It is full of all of my favourite things: boarding school politics, crimes, clever girls figuring things out, and plenty of food. I was also instantly taken with Hazel, who is struggling to fit in in a new school and a new country, and strikes up a Holmes/Waston friendship with Daisy. It's a true gem of a book - I'm hooked on the series now, and have already sent my nannying charge back to school library in search of the next.
Squashed Fly Biscuits
250g plain flour
70g unsalted butter
60g + 1tbsp golden caster sugar
90ml whole milk
1tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch granulated sugar
1. To make the biscuit dough, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 60g sugar and the milk, and bring together into a dough. Rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the currants with 1tbsp sugar and the cinnamon. Roll the dough out into a rough square, around 30cm wide. Slice it in half, and cover one half with the currants. Flip the other half of the dough over this, and then roll out again until around 7mm thick, trapping the currants between two layers of dough.
3. Trim the edges and score rectangles in the dough, not slicing all the way through. Place the slab of biscuits on a baking tray, brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 minutes. Once golden, allow to cool for a couple of minutes before breaking into finger biscuits and serving with tea.