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Chef John Quigley prepares shortbread for high tea and talks about Scotland's famous baking tradition.
ROYAL HIGHLAND SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD
by John Quigley of Glasgow's Red Onion
Makes 12-16 shortbread rounds
9oz/250g plain flour
6oz/175g butter, softened to room temperature
3oz/75g caster sugar
tbsp of water/milk if required
* vanilla essence, lemon zest, ginger, cinnamon added if desired
Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and for the best result, knead together by hand. Add additional flavourings at this stage if desired.
Getting the right consistency is important – mixture needs to be rolled into a ball, but it shouldn’t be too doughy. Add a small amount of water/milk to help work the mixture.
Flour a board/surface and roll out the mixture with a rolling pin until about 1 centimetre thick.
Using a cutter, press shortbread rounds out of mixture.
Place on floured baking sheet and bake in pre-heated oven (Gas Mark 3/170oC/325oF) for 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
Allow to cool, and serve as is, or with freshly whipped cream topped with Scottish strawberries.
Alternatively, to make shortbread fingers, place mixture in a deeper tray, prick all over with a fork and score evenly into sections, which can be broken up when cool.
For Petticoat Tails, place mixture in round shallow tin and prick, and score out equal divisions, which can again be sliced up after baking.