Makes 12 -16 petticoat tails

I make my shortbread the same way as my Mum did – by rubbing the butter into the flour and sugar and cooking it in a sandwich tin to cut into slices. Since moving to Orkney and getting addicted to beremeal I have been adding that to the mix and love the sweet nutty flavour that it brings to baking. Do remember to add the sugar – Mum forgot it once and we all had to be so polite….

Print the recipe here

Beremeal shortbread

• 200g plain flour

• 100g beremeal

• 200g cold butter

• 100g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180C – I use a fan oven that is correct to temperature at dial i.e. there is no need to off-set it but some fan ovens might need to be set to 160C. Check your instructions. The trials of sharing recipes for baking….. Lightly butter a 20cm sandwich tin.

2. Mix the flour and beremeal together and add the butter, cut into small pieces with the sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture starts to come together – I usually do this in a mixer but you could do it in a processor by blitzing the mix or, of course, in the tried and tested old fashioned way of rubbing in by hand.

3. Transfer the mix to the prepared tin and press it down evenly with a palette knife. Mark the edges with a fork then prick the mixture all over with the fork.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave for 5 minutes then run the palette knife around the edge of the tin. Mark into 12-16 pieces with a sharp knife while still hot then scatter with caster sugar.

5. Leave in the tin until cool then cut again and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cold.

Even a tub full of shortbread never lasts very long

Top Tips:

• There is no way of being 100% certain that shortbread is cooked through when cooking it in a sandwich tin but my timings always work for me.

• I use a butter paper to rub round the sandwich tin to grease it.

• I always bring the mixture slightly past crumb stage – when you would start adding water for pastry – so that it starts to bind together and then put it into the tin.

• Some people like to add 25-50g semolina to shortbread for a more grainy texture – if you want to do that use the corresponding amount less plain flour.

• Orcadians are great authorities on shortbread, especially workmen, and this always goes down well when there are jobs being done in the house…

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