Kamis, 01 November 2012

Scottish shortbread, the way I like it

A cow, the Saltire, Scottish Parliament and me

There's a personal reason to celebrate all things Scottish today - namely, it was exactly seven years ago that I met my dear partner K. at a reception at the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh (housed in the lovely building behind me on the photo above, though the picture is taken about 7 months later), which eventually led me to moving back home to Estonia, and living a very happy life with a wonderful partner and two gorgeous kids. Oh, and a lovely garden.

The Scottish dish I'm celebrating today is the wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery Scottish shortbread. It's soft, yet crunchy - the crunchiness is enhanced by the use of fine semolina in the recipe. You cannot have a cup of tea without those, really.

Scottish shortbread / Šoti liivaküpsis

Here's the home-made Scottish all-butter shortbread - the recipe is from Delia Smith - and as it's a pretty classic one, there's been no reason to change it. I used a special shortbread tin, marked with the thistle, but you can just as well use a regular springform tin or even roll the dough out and cut into preferred shapes with a cookie cutter (remember to adjust the cooking time for smaller cookies!)

Scottish butter shortbread
(Šoti liivaküpsised)

175 butter, at room temperature
75 g caster sugar
175 all-purpose flour, sifted
75 g fine semolina/cream of wheat
a pinch of salt

Preheat  the oven to 150 C/300 F.

Using your wooden spoon, cream the butter in a bowl.
Add the sugar, flour, semolina and salt. Mix with the spoon until combined, then use your hands to knead the dough (or simply use a food processor). Avoid over-working the dough, however, as the butter might melt and compromise the texture!
Transfer the cookie dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using the rolling pin, roll into a 20 cm circle and transfer it into a 20 cm springform. Press lightly, then pierce with a fork thoroughly (this keeps the shortcrust pastry from raising during baking).
Bake the shortbread for about 60 minutes in the centre of the preheated oven, until it's pale golden and feels firm to the touch.
Remove it from the oven and cut into 12 wedges.
Sprinkle generously with caster sugar, if you want, and store in an airtight box.