garibaldi biscuits are something i feel like i really should like, but rarely do. i think it's mostly because of the cookie/pastry crust, which is often too dry or just too dull; i don't think it has anything to do with the fact that they are often called "squashed fly biscuits" because of the sandwiched fruit between.
my friend, veronica, occasionally makes a version that is quite chunky and fruit-filled for christmas; as the holiday is just around the corner, i think my sense memory went into overdrive and i began craving them. however, i don't know her recipe, so i poked the internets in the stummy and this alice waters' raisin shortbread recipe fell out. this looked very much like the recipe that miss v uses, which is a somewhat more luxurious version of a typical garibaldi biscuit recipe in that the layers of shortbread-like cookie are thicker, and there's a fancy egg-washed top. so, off to the shops, only to not find currants anywhere. however, there were some very interesting (and expensive) dried wild maine blueberries on sale. oh, what the heck. so...a few little tweaks to the original, and a wholly more adult-oriented garibaldi was born. also, the squashed fly appearance was banished...only to be replaced by fat tick-studded biccy. but fat ticks of sweet blueberry goodness, tinged lightly with a bit of orange liqueur, amongst the sweet, buttery shortcrust. ah, if only they all fell off of dogs like that.
fat tick biscuits (adapted from alice waters' raisin shortbread)
3-4 cups dried blueberries or fruit of choice
1 cup orange liqueur
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange oil or 1 teaspoon orange extract or the zest of one small orange
3 cups powdered sugar
5 cups (scant) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
preheat the oven to 325°F.
combine the dried blueberries with the orange liqueur in a bowl. set aside for at least 10 minutes, then drain the bluebs thoroughly. drink the orange liqueur on the rocks. or add it to a cuppa coffee or hot cocoa.
beat together the butter, salt, vanilla, and orange oil/extract/zest until creamy. add the powdered sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. stir in the flour gently until incorporated--it will be a little stiff or crumbly. gather the dough into 2 balls, one a little larger than the other. crumble the smaller ball of dough into an even layer on the bottom of a 11x17-inch baking sheet with a shallow lip. press down gently to make a thin, even layer over the entire sheet. scatter the blueberries evenly over the dough and gently press to embed them. crumble the other ball of dough into pieces and distribute them over the fruit layer, then gently press and flatten the dough to cover all the fruit as best you can. this could take awhile, but it's quite a therapeutic thing....try to keep the top layer as even as possible.
brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg. slowly drag a fork back and forth across the dough to make a decorative pattern, using the back of the tines. bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until light golden brown (i like mine to be a little darker, so i go with 40 minutes). cool and cut into 1x3-inch rectangular bars.
i liked these enough to try them later in the season, maybe this time with dried cranberries...ah, bloody ticks!