Today’s post is all about shortbread..… but before I get into that just a few words on strawberries……..
On the top of my blog it says “Traditional Recipes for a Sustainable World”. As such you will probably have noticed that my recipes tend to be traditional and that I use few technological kitchen marvels. I felt I had to take it a step further this week and get on my soapbox. You see my ire was raised on my last couple of visits to the local fruit and vegetable market here is Spain! Yes, they were selling strawberries. They had replaced the red of Santa’s Suit by the red of the strawberry.
I like traditional recipes as they tend to use locally sourced ingredients and don’t mix ingredients from different seasons. I am left bewildered as I reflect on the dichotomy between our efforts to reduce energy consumption, to protect this spaceship Earth, whilst on a daily basis we buy strawberries and other produce way out of their natural season.
…..and then unfortunately it affects me directly, as when the strawberry season finally arrives there are no strawberries for sale here. The locals are tired of eating strawberries, the local stalls stop selling and the producers just ship them to England to sell them there outside of the English strawberry season. It is a catch-22, if I buy them now I am going against what I believe is right, yet if I wait then there are none available…..grrrrrr!!!
Is this the world we created?
We made it on our own
Is this the world we devastated
Right to the bone?
If there’s a God in the sky looking down
What can he think of what we’ve done
To the world that he created?
[by Queen…. of course]
Well let’s get back to this week’s recipe, before you end up closing down this internet window.
So shortbread….. what a delicious and delicate thing it is that if done properly will just melt in the mouth. I put a little semolina flour in the mix as I think it adds a little more crunch to the shortbread, but if you are without then just substitute for an equivalent amount of ordinary flour.
The recipe below uses a shortbread mould but I also explain how to do it without. It is far easier and quicker to make the shortbread without the mould and to be honest with you I only use one on special occasions.
Makes one 14cm diameter shortbread round.
15g Semolina flour
One of the secrets of a good shortbread is to not over-mix the dough. So work the dough until the ingredients are just mixed.
With a wooden spoon mix together the butter and sugar.
Sift the flours bit by bit over the butter and mix in. Towards the end it will be easier to discard the spoon and use your hands. Knead lightly until it just comes together. Again we don’t want to overwork this.
Put in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill.
Remove from the fridge and either…..
Since first publishing this recipe I received some excellent feedback from Alan, so firstly let me just say THANKS. I always appreciate feedback on my recipes. My aim is to publish the best recipes possible, so any tips are always more than welcome. Please find his comments below, in blue!
Option 1 – Using a shortbread mould:
Lightly oil the mould then dust well with flour.
Press the dough into the mould making sure it goes into all the depressions.
Pop it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Lightly grease a baking tray with a little butter. Turn the mould over and drop the dough out onto the baking tray. It is invariably not that easy and you will have to bank the edges of the mould on the baking tray or other hard surface until you can see the dough starting to drop away from the mould.
Sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for about 25 minutes or until a light golden colour.
Note that some moulds give a biscuit of different thicknesses and structures, particularly on the outer border. This can make an even bake difficult.
Option 2 – Use a pastry cutter to make shortbread biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Roll the dough out to about a quarter of an inch, say about 6mm thick. Cut out the biscuits and place on a lightly buttered baking tray. Gently pull the scraps together, form another dough ball and roll out again to make more biscuits.
Alternatively, if you want to cook it as biscuits, then roll the dough into a sausage about 50mm thick and then slice it to form the biscuits – much easier than using a cookie cutter.
Sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for about 20 minutes or until a light golden colour.
Option 3 – Use a baking tin (From Alan):
“The mould is a lovely idea, but most home bakers simply push the dough into a shallow baking tray. Then take a fork and gently prick the surface all over – this stops the tendency of the dough to bubble and provides a pretty pattern, and you should do that even if you have used a mould. Some people use the other end of the spoon to create a pattern at the edge of the tray Then bake the shortbread, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool before cutting it into biscuits”
(For the baking I would recommend following the guidelines in Option 1 above)
We suggest that you only sprinkle the icing sugar on just before you serve. That way it doesn’t get absorbed into the biscuits but is a decoration. Most of the time we don’t bother as we find there’s quite enough sugar in the mix, but it certainly looks pretty.
Well here we are again, the end of another blog post. I hope it has been of interest to you and as always, feel free to provide feedback. So until next time,
Share and enjoy……..
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge