Violet iced gems

These violet coloured gems were cobbled together from a batch of leftover pastry, and the remaining whites of an egg that I used to brush over Tom Kerridge’s milk buns recipe. I’m not trying to go off focus, but if there is ever a bun that needs to accompany your dinner, let it be Tom’s buns. 

Tiny biscuits make for the sort of baking you want to do on a Sunday, after you’ve spent all day slaving over a joint of meat for a Sunday roast, but still feel the need to put together something sweet that’ll tide you over during the weekday afternoon slumps ahead. They’re a childish feat, but I think they look a bit charming – how could anyone turn down a home-made iced gem when the packaged version tastes like actual cardboard?

Violet iced gems


For the biscuit base:

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 450g plain flour
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Splash amaretto (optional)

For the icing:

  • 1 egg white
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp glycerine
  • 2 drops purple food colouring

Note: I used half of the biscuit base recipe to make these and I ended up with roughly 30 iced gems. You can use whatever shortcrust pastry or biscuit dough you have leftover from another recipe. The dough will last for 3 months, covered, in the freezer. 


  1. In a food processor whizz together the butter and flour until fine breadcrumbs form. Add the sugar, baking powder, vanilla, egg yolks and lemon zest and pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball. Add a splash of amaretto or water if the mixture looks dry. Split the dough in 2 and wrap each piece in cling film. Freeze 1 half (it will keep for 3 months) and chill the other half for 30 minutes.
  2. Line a tray with baking parchment. On a floured surface, roll the chilled dough to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use the wide end (about 1 inch)  of a piping nozzle to stamp out the biscuits, then space the biscuits apart on a lined tray and chill for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160 C/180 F, then bake for 10 minutes or until they’re golden around the edges. Leave to cool.
  3. To make the icing, whisk the egg white in a large bowl until frothy. Mix in the icing sugar, then add the lemon juice,  glycerine and food colouring. Beat the icing until it’s the consistency of toothpaste and stiff peaks hold their shape. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small french tip with the mixture and pipe a gem on top of each biscuit. Set aside to dry, about 2 hours, then serve. Lasts for 3 days if kept covered.