Tag Archives: shortbread

Almond fingers

Almond fingers

These little bars of deliciousness are, like the Norfolk Scone, inspired by Jennie Reekie’s Cakes, Pastries and Bread book. I have altered her recipe though replacing half the flour with ground almonds to make them more almondy, taken out Jennie’s cinnamon addition and changing the method, so they really are only a doff of the hat to Jennie. Mine are more macaroon to Jennie’s shortbread. In fact, if you pinned me down to describing them I would say that they are a hybrid macaroon/shortbread. A bit like the Norfolk Scone being a hybrid scone/eccles cake. There seems to be a pattern forming here…

They are quick to make and very, very tempting.

100g butter
50g caster sugar
75g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
25g flaked almonds
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Method

Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180°c, gas mark 4 or use the middle shelf of the Aga baking oven.

I use a food processor and whizz the butter, caster sugar, flour and almonds until the mixture begins to form a ball.

If you don’t have a processor then rub the butter into the flour, almonds and sugar. You will start with a breadcrumb texture and then it should start to bind together to form a ball.

Press the mixture into a 20cm square tin using the palm of your hand to level the surface. Using a pastry brush, brush all over with the beaten egg. Prick all over with the tines of a fork and sprinkle over the almonds and granulated sugar.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into fingers whilst still warm, lift the baking paper out of the tin and place onto a cooling tray.

Almond fingers

Shortbread fruit slice

shortbread fruit slice 2

This is another fruity variation on a traditional treat. I didn’t plan this succession of posts in this way. We have a friend who makes the most delicious fruit slice. We have asked her for the recipe but she does that quick change of subject thing that suggests that it is a closely guarded family secret. So, each time she cooks us a batch I try my best to work out how she does it. I haven’t cracked it yet. Both my girls love Mrs C’s fruit slice and devour it as soon as it arrives. So, the experiments will have to continue until I crack it.

I think Mrs C’s is a pastry rather than a shortbread but it’s a pastry quite like no other. I tried my own version with a quick flaky pastry but it wasn’t the same. In fact it was nowhere near. Then I tried this, just in case. I knew it wouldn’t be the same as Mrs C’s but it is pretty good. So, if you don’t have the benchmark of Mrs C’s fruit slice to stand up to you could be very satisfied with these. They take the shortbread just one step further in the decadence stakes. They travel well so make good picnic or fete treats and with the summer holidays just around the corner we are hoping that there will be plenty of opportunities for picnics, and in the open air, rather than in the car.

For the shortbread base and topping
425 g (15 0z) plain flour
150g (5oz) caster sugar
275g (10oz) butter

For the fruit filling
150g (5oz) mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, glace cherries, mixed peel etc)
25g (1oz) soft light brown sugar
juice of 1 orange

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°c, gas mark 3, or place a rack on the bottom rung of the baking oven of the Aga. Grease a 26cm square tin.

To make the fruit filling, pour the orange juice into a small saucepan and add the sugar and fruit. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until the fruit has plumped up. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

To make the shortbread, place the flour, sugar and cubed butter into a food processor and pulse until it begins to come together. If you don’t have a food processor then place the flour in a large bowl, stir in the sugar and using your fingertips rub in the cubed butter, until it begins to make pea sized pieces.

Spread half of the shortbread mixture in the bottom of the tin and press down well with the back of a spoon. Spread the fruit evenly over and cover with the remaining shortbread dough. Press down well with the spoon. Prick all over with a fork. Place in the centre of the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden. Sprinkle with caster sugar and cut into squares. Leave to cool completely in the tin.