MY MUM’S SHORTBREAD, AKA THE BEST SHORTBREAD IN THE WORLD
Shortbread is curious stuff: simple, so simple - just three or four ingredients, no equipment required other than a wooden spoon and a bowl - but it can be properly ambrosial. As this is. It’s the result of a basic trick (substituting some of the flour for cornflour) and happy accident (running out of regular sugar and using soft golden caster sugar instead). It may be simple, but it’s a thing of utter beauty, so crisp, so buttery, so perfectly… short: a cup of tea was never so finely accessorised.
100gms 250gms plain flour
50gms 125gms corn flour
50gms 125gms raw golden caster sugar
100gms 250gms butter (room temperature)
Pre heat oven to 150c
First of all, beat the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon to soften it, then beat in the , followed by the sifted flour and cornflour. Work the ingredients together with the spoon, pressing them to the side of the bowl, then finish off with your hands until you have a smooth mixture that doesn’t leave any bits in the bowl.
Next transfer the dough to a flat, lightly floured surface, and roll it out lightly to a round (giving it quarter turns as you roll) about the same diameter as the tin, then transfer the round to the tin. Lightly press the mixture evenly into the tin right up to the fluted edges (to make sure that it is even you can give it a final roll with a small glass tumbler). Finally, you must prick the shortbread all over with a fork – or it will rise up in the centre while it’s . I also press the tines of the fork all round the edges for pure dead fanciness.
Bake the shortbread for 60-70 minutes on the centre shelf of the oven – it should have turned pale gold and feel firm in the centre. If you make it thick - which I like very much - it can need up to two hours at a low heat to avoid a claggy centre.
Remove it from the oven and, using a palette , mark out the surface into 12 wedges. Leave it to cool in the tin, then, when it’s cold, cut it into wedges. Dredge with the golden caster sugar and store in an airtight polythene box or tin.