Shortbread is often made at Christmas time, wrapped in greaseproof paper,
placed in a nice festive tin and given away as presents.
This shortbread is made in one piece in a tin and then cut into wedges.
The optional addition of fine semolina gives it a crunchier texture.
You will need:
- 6 oz, 175 g, butter at room temperature.
- 3 oz, 75 g, caster sugar.
- 6 oz, 175 g, plain flour sifted.
- 3 oz, 75 g, three level tablespoons of fine semolina (optional).
- icing sugar for dusting.
- a little extra butter to grease your tin.
- extra flour for dredging.
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 2, 300 f, 150 c, 130 fan.
grease an 8 inch, 20 cm, fluted loose bottomed flan tin, or, alternatively,
you can use an oblong tin measuring 11 by 7 inches,
28 by 18 cm, usually known as a Swiss roll tin or shallow baking tray.
- First of all, beat the butter in a bowl. to soften it
- Then beat in the caster sugar.
- followed by the sifted flour.
- Followed by the semolina.
Mix the ingredients together with the spoon, pressing it against the sides
of the bowl.
Finish bringing it together into a ball with your hands until you
have a soft dough that doesn’t leave any bits behind in the bowl.
Next, transfer the dough to a floured work surface and roll it out very gently
with a floured rolling pin into a circle or an oblong, , giving it a quarter
turn as you roll, to help keep its shape. The dough will need to be the
same size as the flan tin or Swiss roll tin when you put it the wrong side up
on top of the dough.
Transfer it into the tin, lightly pressing it right into the
base and sides, making sure
that it is pressed right into the fluted edges of the flan tin which will
give the shortbread an even shape and an attractive appearance when
Prick the shortbread all over with a fork, this is to prevent the dough from
rising up in the tin while it’s cooking.
Bake for one to one and a quarter hours on the centre shelf of your oven,
Don’t worry as the shortbread will still be pale in colour and soft to the
touch when the time is up and its ready to come out.
Remove the tin from the oven and put it on a firm, heatproof
surface, because you are now going to use a round bladed knife to mark
out the shortbread into twelve wedges or fingers while it’s still warm.
Leave it to cool in the tin, then turn it out onto a large plate, cut
or break the wedges apart. Dust with icing sugar and store in an airtight tin.
If you’re anything like me and love shortbread, it won’t be stored for very
long, if at all, smile.
If you want to turn it into a dessert and make a strawberry shortcake, make
a round of shortbread as above, leaving it in one piece after it has been cooked.
Spread it with whipped double cream or fromage frais and top with halved
fresh strawberries, just before serving. This is an excellent summer dessert
for a party or for serving outside in the garden for afternoon tea.