The Viennese Whirl is an old fashioned British biscuit which is thought to have originated from Austria – they are buttery, light biscuits that are truly melt in the mouth, filled with jam and buttercream. Similar to the Empire Biscuit, the biscuits are piped onto the baking tray before being baked, which gives them a pretty, patterned finish, hence the name 'whirls'. A very well-known British cake company has made them famous, and they are often seen on the afternoon tea time plate!
To further confuse the issue, there are more biscuits based on the Viennese Whirl, called Viennese Drops; they have a slice of cherry on top of the biscuit, and are not sandwiched together, but are just as tasty and are less sweet than the whirls. You need to use a piping bag to obtain the 'whirl' shape, and the biscuits need to be a pale golden brown, and no darker, once baked.
My recipe for Viennese Whirls is based on an old Be-Ro recipe my mum used to make called Viennese Fingers; the same biscuit dough was piped into finger shapes. After baking, one end was dipped in chocolate, and sometimes sandwiched together with buttercream. The biscuit dough is made with a mixture of flour and cornflour, and it’s the cornflour that gives the biscuits their crumby and light texture.
The biscuits are quite tricky to make, but the results are worth the extra effort. One tip – when I made mine, it was a very hot day, so try to make sure that the buttercream is chilled before filling the biscuits, otherwise you won’t be able to pipe the buttercream properly. The biscuits are just as nice plain, if sweet jam and the buttery filling isn’t to your taste.