It is so satisfying for us, as part of the Monday Morning Cooking Club project, to find a recipe from many decades ago and enable its continued life.
When Zoli Romer’s daughter Susie got in touch with us, we were thrilled to hear her dad’s story and be able to recreate some of his treats. And the jam rings remind us all of our childhood.
Here is Susie’s beautiful story, as it appears in It’s Always About the Food :
My parents escaped from communist Budapest together with my adored grandmother in 1956 and headed for Adelaide, a relatively quiet city where my great uncle lived.
Though a multicultural city, Adelaide only had two continental cake shops at the time. My dad Zoli – who loved baking – got himself a bicycle and rode many kilometres into the city centre each day to work different shifts at Adelaide’s iconic Aussie cake shop, Balfours. As none of the locals could pronounce ‘Zoli’, he became known as John. After a couple of years, my parents took a huge risk and opened their own cake shop in the busy seaside suburb of Glenelg: the ‘Susie Cake Shop’.
Though the continental cakes were spectacular, the locals weren’t used to them, so Dad started to cater to the masses with cupcakes, lamingtons and other Aussie classics. The shop became a massive success. I still remember Dad having to go to Adelaide Airport to dispatch his cargo of ‘Susie Cheese Pockets’ to an interstate function. There was even a political party called ‘The Susie Cheesecake Party’, though their success didn’t equal Dad’s!
I became an object of curiosity at school amongst my peers, as not only was I from a European family, but my parents owned a cake shop. I was constantly asked: ‘Were you named after the shop, or the shop after you?’
Dad was the only pastry cook in Adelaide making challah, and even the locals loved to buy them. Every September he would start making his beigli to be ready for Yom Tov and would continue until Christmas time when they were still being collected by the boxful.
The shop was open seven days a week and my parents worked long hours. After a rare trip to the USA, Dad returned with great inspiration and developed a new yeast bun, named ‘American Beauty’. It became one of his best sellers and people travelled from all over Adelaide for this new delicacy. He was also renowned for his delicious jam ring biscuits, which still remain a favourite of mine today. Dad is now 98 and is more than happy to share his recipes with me and others who ask, as they often do.
Zoli passed away in 2018, and his legacy lives on.
HOME MADE JAM RING BISCUITS
- 300 g plain flour 2 cups, all-purpose
- 300 g self-raising flour 2 cups
- 400 g Unsalted Butter at room temperature, XX oz
- 200 g icing sugar 1 1/4 cups, confectioners
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar see note
- 1/3 cup strawberry or apricot jam
- icing sugar extra, for sprinkling (optional), confectioners’
- Preheat the oven to 180℃. Line a large baking tray.
- In an electric mixer, using the K beater, combine all the ingredients until a dough is formed. Roll the dough into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a thickness of 2-3 mm.
- Using a 7 cm round cookie cutter, cut out 40 circles. 20 will be for the base of the biscuits, and 20 will be for the top ring.
- Using a 4 cm round cookie cutter, cut out the centre of 20 of the circles to form a ring.
- Re-use the centre circles that are not needed, join them together, knead lightly and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. You will then be able to roll out some extra biscuits.
- Place the large circles and rings on the prepared baking tray.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until pale golden and allow to cool on the tray. When cool, place 3/4 teaspoon of jam in the centre of each large circle. Place the ring on top of each base. Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.
- Makes 36 jam ring biscuits.