Benne seed and blackcurrant sandwiches

Benne seed and blackcurrant sandwiches

By
From
Deep South
Makes
15
Photographer
Andy Sewell

Benne is the heirloom ancestor of sesame, but its unique f lavour profile is less prominent in today’s sesame seeds. Benne seeds were brought to Carolina by African slaves and grown amongst other crops to enrich the soil and deter the pests that were destroying neighbouring plants. Initially benne was grown mainly in the slaves’ own subsistence gardens as a medicinal and edible resource: the leaves were eaten and sometimes pounded to thicken stews and soups. Over time, benne was developed into a commercial strain that focused more on the seeds’ ability to yield oil and less on flavour. Thanks to revivalists and seed savers, benne is now making its way back into commercial and residential kitchens.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
225g light soft brown sugar
40g benne seeds, or sesame seeds
125g shortening or margarine, melted
1 large egg, beaten with 1½ tbsp cold water
350g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Blackcurrant jelly

Method

  1. Put the sugar and benne or sesame seeds in a bowl. Beat in the melted shortening or margarine with an electric beater on medium speed, then gradually mix in the egg and water mixture.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients into a separate bowl, then fold them into the sugar mixture, adding a little more flour to bring the dough together, if necessary. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut out rounds with a 4cm cookie cutter and place on greased baking sheets. Bake in an oven heated to 160°C for about 8 minutes, until the cookies are turning golden around the edges.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sandwich the cookies together in pairs, using about a teaspoon of the blackcurrant jelly for each one.
Tags:
American
Southern cooking
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