Shortbread

Shortbread

By
From
Baking
Makes
2 rounds
Photographer
Vanessa Levis

I love to shape shortbread into petticoat tails. According to legend, the recipe was brought from France by Mary, Queen of Scots. Its French name, ‘petits gateaux tailles’, means ‘little cakes cut off’. The name came to be pronounced as it sounded to the Scots and English – ‘petticoat tails’. But the real Highland Scot didn’t do any of this. They just put the shortbread on the table and you simply broke it. That was the proper thing to do. Whichever way you make it, if you get it just right, people love it.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g butter, softened
110g caster sugar, plus extra to dust
450g plain flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until light and creamy, then gradually add the sugar, beating it until it is light and fluffy. Work in the flour gradually and then knead the dough with your hands for about 5 minutes until the mixture is very smooth.
  3. Halve the dough and press each piece into a 24 cm circle on baking trays or into flan rings or sandwich tins (there is no need to grease them). You can make them into smaller, thicker circles if you like. With the heel of the hand push the dough out until the mixture is very smooth, then smooth over the surface with a rolling pin, or the heel of your hand over some plastic wrap.
  4. Crimp the edges by pressing the edge of the pastry with your finger and then pinching the edge together. If using a flan ring or sandwich tin, use a fork to decorate the edges. Using a 7 cm round biscuit cutter, cut a circle in the middle. Keeping this smaller circle whole and intact, cut the remaining round into 12 segments. Using a fork, prick the shortbread in a decorative pattern (this is done to release moisture as it cooks, making the shortbread crisp). Dust lightly with extra caster sugar.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until very lightly coloured and crisp. Transfer to wire racks to cool and store in an airtight container.

Variation

  • Citrus shortbread

    Add 2 teaspoons each finely grated lemon and orange rind to the butter mixture.

Note

  • The dough must be kneaded for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and very buttery. This makes a superb shortbread, crisp yet tender. If making ahead, recrisp in a 180˚C oven for 15 minutes before serving. For a lighter and crisper shortbread, 1/4 cup of the flour could be replaced with the same amount of rice flour.
Tags:
baking
bakery
margaret
fulton
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again