Mauritian Gateaux Napolitaines Recipe!
Have you ever tried the Mauritian treat available in almost every bakery on the island? I’m talking about the delicious Mauritian Gateau Napolitaine, a delectable sweet made of flaky, crumbly shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with jam (usually guava jelly when homemade in Mauritius) and covered with a fondant coating.
I have been making them over the past few years because my daughter loves them but would you believe that I haven’t always been a fan? I used to find the bakery version dry and sugary. I may have been extra hard to please as my mother used to bake a lot but I’m not sure.
During one of my visits to Mauritius after I started living overseas a neighbour named Genevieve invited my parents and I for dinner. She had prepared Gateaux Napolitaines for dessert and to my surprise, they were not dry at all and the icing was a thin layer with a milky taste, not like the ones that I had had in the past. They were absolutely delicious.
The icing is most often coloured with red food colouring, however, as I don’t like using artificial colouring agents, I usually use beetroot powder to impart the pinkness to the icing. Feel free to go either way or even to change the flavour of the jam that you use.
One of my corporate policies is to support local farmers and artisans and as a result I use jams made by Stone & Lea as she is a local artisan producer who rescues “ugly” or “second-grade” fruit from farmers and turns it into jam, thereby reducing food waste.
500g white, all purpose flour
325g good quality butter (I generally use salted butter)
1 teaspoon high strength vanilla extract (made with vanilla pods and alcohol, no water, I usually make my own)
Jam for sandwiching, about 125 ml
750g pure icing sugar, sifted
2-3 drops red food colour, depending on colour intensity desired (or use beetroot powder)
about 125 ml milk to make the icing
Combine butter, flour and vanilla in a food processor until a soft dough is formed or rub butter and vanilla into flour with your fingertips until it forms a soft dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or place in a container and refrigerate until it is firm enough to roll out, usually about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170 ºC (fan forced, otherwise 180 ºC)
Divide dough into portions to make rolling easier. Lightly flour work surface and gently roll dough until it is about 1/2 cm thick.
Cut into round shapes (or other shapes) with a cutter and place them about 5 cm apart on baking tray. Bake for about seven minutes or until just set, try not to over cook them.
Allow to cool and make sandwiches by using jam to stick two biscuits together.
Place icing sugar into a bowl, add colouring or beetroot powder and slowly add milk, whisking until icing is a thick, pourable consistency.
Arrange sandwiched cookies on a cooling rack, keeping some distance between them and pour icing over them. Allow to dry and repeat process if necessary.
Allow to dry and enjoy!