That’s the most fitting word I can think of for bergamot. It smells familiar, but exotic. When you try and grasp at the flavour of it, it flits away leaving you with a memory of something half-defined. I had one bergamot left at the weekend and was wondering what to do with it. Beautiful though they are their strong floral aroma makes them tricky to substitute for lemons in many recipes (though substitutions tend to work very well the other way round) and being expensive, rare and generally divine I wanted to give this one a good send off. After a bit of searching I found the perfect recipe on Hungry Cravings, small two-bite bergamot biscuits, similar to shortbread, that melt in your mouth when you bite into them. The sort of dreamy baked good that is perfect for bergamot and perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
These biscuits are also ideal for making gluten-free, since their crumbly nature is only enhanced by gluten-free flours. No gummy stabilisers are required here, just pure gluten-free flour. Unfortunately I realised a little too late that I had made these too fine, and as a result their portability is pretty much nil. I can just about get one from a plate into my mouth before it dissolves like sherbet, but any further afield and there will be crumbs everywhere. The sensation when these hit your tongue is more than worth it though, melting almost instantly, and releasing their floral aroma. Just be careful when rolling them in icing sugar, lest they crumble to dust in your eager hands.
Bergamot dream biscuits
Adapted slightly from Hungry Cravings
I deliberately used very fine flours for this recipe to get the lightest, most melt-in-the-mouth texture possible. I used rice flour (a mix of white and brown rice, for slightly more nutritional value), tapioca starch and cornflour. If you play around with different flours let me know how they turn out.
1 cup rice flour (white and brown, mixed)
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/4 cup icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons bergamot zest
2 tablespoons bergamot juice
More icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 160 C.
2. In a medium bowl cream together the butter and icing sugar. Stir in the zest and juice.
3. In a large bowl briefly whisk together the flours and salt. Stir the flours into the butter mixture until it comes together in a cohesive ball. If the dough is a little crumbly get your hands in the bowl and knead it for a minute or so; this will help melt the butter slightly and bring it together a little more.
4. Pinch off ping-pong ball sized pieces with your hands and roll between your palms to make dough balls about 1.5-inches across. Place these about an inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until just a hint of colour is showing on their tops.
Makes about 28. These keep very well in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week with no discernible change in taste or texture.