What are Garibaldi Biscuits, aka Squashed Fly Biscuits?

The Great British Baking Show‘s Technical Challenges have always been the stuff of nightmares, but “Biscuit Week” brought “squashed flies” into the tent. Prue Leith asked the bakers to make 12 Garibaldi biscuits, also known as “squashed fly biscuits” (or Scottish fly biscuits if you’re Rebs’s mom). The challenge divided the tent between those savvy bakers who knew what the heck Prue was asking them to do and those who thought the recipe called for ornate chocolate feathers. In the end, it was a far more brutal Technical Challenge than last week’s — and one that helped determine who would eventually be in the running for Star Baker and who would get a lifeline to stay home.

But what exactly are Garibaldi biscuits? Are they truly such a classic British cookie? And why are they called squashed fly biscuits? And where can you find a recipe for Prue Leith’s chocolate-dipped version of the biscuits?

Here’s everything you need to know about The Great British Baking Show “Biscuit Week” Technical Challenge, Garibaldi biscuits.

WHAT ARE GARIBALDI BISCUITS ON THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW? AND WHY ARE GARIBALDI BISCUITS CALLED SQUASHED FLY BISCUITS?

Garibaldi biscuits were invented to honor the famous Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi, who visited South Shields, England in 1854. It was invented in 1861 by biscuit maker Jonathan Carr for the Bermondsey biscuit company Peek Freans. It’s usually made out of dried currants (or golden raisins) squashed between two thin layers of biscuit dough.

Garibaldi biscuits were once available in the United States, but they are still sold in British supermarkets.

Great British Baking Show host Noel Fielding says that Garibaldi biscuits are also known as squashed fly biscuits because the squashed dry fruit resembles, uh, dead insects. They’re also known as fly sandwiches, flies’ graveyards, and dead fly biscuits. Delicious!

The chocolate feathers made by Syabira in The Great British Baking Show "Biscuit Week"
Photo: Netflix

WHAT IS FEATHERED CHOCOLATE ON THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW?

This week’s Garibaldi biscuit Technical Challenge threw a curve ball at many of the non-native English speakers in the tent. Prue asked the bakers to dip half their biscuits in chocolate and then to feather said chocolate.

Feathering chocolate is a technique where you spread one color of chocolate — dark or white — onto your bake. Then you pipe lines in the contrasting color of chocolate over the spread chocolate. Take a toothpick and drag it across the chocolate lines. Then drag it back in the opposite direction. Do this back and forth until you have created a feather design on the chocolate.

It’s a pretty standard technique in Western baking, but it threw folks like the Malaysian-born Syabira and Saudi Arabian-raised Abdul through a loop. These bakers assumed Prue wanted them to make feathers out of the white chocolate. The feathers, while gorgeous, failed to impress Prue. Abdul and Syabira took the bottom two places in the Technical. (Which I kind of thought was unfair because those feathers ruled!)

WHERE TO FIND PRUE LEITH’S GARIBALDI BISCUITS RECIPE ONLINE FOR FREE

You can find the exact same recipe* given to the bakers in The Great British Baking Show “Biscuit Week” on the official British website for The Great British Bake Off.

*Sure, it’s Prue Leith’s recipe, but we have a feeling the website version has a bit more instructions than the barebones version of recipes thrust upon bakers during the “Technical Challenge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.