Melt-in-the-mouth shortbreads sandwiched with mascarpone and juicy strawberries – a perfect summer afternoon-tea treat.
125 grams butter, very soft but not melted
½ cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon whole aniseed, toasted
70 grams pecans, roasted and finely ground
⅔ cup plain flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
pinch sea salt
200 grams mascarpone
1 punnet strawberries, sliced
icing sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.
Beat the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and toasted aniseed until pale and creamy.
Add the combined ground pecans, flour, baking powder and salt and beat to combine. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large fluted nozzle. Pipe into 16 oval-shaped biscuits about 6cm long and 2cm wide on a lined flat baking tray, leaving a 3cm space between each one.
Bake for about 12–15 minutes until the biscuits are lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To assemble: Spread the flat side of each biscuit with a layer of mascarpone and sandwich together with sliced strawberries. Dust with icing sugar to serve. Makes 8 double biscuits
Cook’s note: Don’t stir the mascarpone before using or it will be too soft to spread on the biscuits.
Pantry note: Aniseed is not the same as star anise. Aniseed is the spice used to make the French drink Pastis and is widely used in Europe to flavour breads and cakes. Star anise is a small star-shaped spice with 5–6 points each containing a seed. It is used in Chinese Five Spice and many Asian recipes.