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- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease 2 flat, large cookie tins.
- Use the coarse side of a grater, and in a large bowl grate the butter into the flour.
- Then use your hands to rub it in until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the salt and sugar.
- Add the vanilla to the beaten eggs, and stir into the flour mixture (just roughly).
- Add enough buttermilk to mix to the consistency of scone dough, i.e. soft and somewhat sticky, but not wet.
- You should need about 6 cups, but it could be more or less.
- Have a bowl of quite warm water ready, and dip your hands into it.
- Now form large balls of dough, but do so lightly.
- The balls should be about ⅓ smaller than tennis balls (sorry, hard if you can't demonstrate!) pack these, touching one another, on the greased tins.
- Do not pack close to the edges of the tins, as the dough will rise considerably.
- Baking time depends on a few variables such as the size of the balls—generally about 45 minutes – 60 minutes the rusks should be well-risen and golden-brown on top.
- Do peek, and don't let it burn. Test with a skewer.
- Cool in tins, but they don't have to be cold to proceed:.
- Use a serrated knife (some people simply break up the soft rusks) and cut into shapes convenient for handling—about 3 inches in length and 1½ inches in width.
- But you will never be able to cut these rusks neatly!
- They crumble a lot—don't worry, it can't be helped. Put out the crumbs for the birds.
- Using the same tins, stack them very loosely and at an angle, one row supporting the next.
- Dry overnight in a cool oven of about 170°F, with the oven door wedged open a crack.
- They must dry out completely.
- Next day make sure rusks are dry, cool well, and keep in airtight tins.