Bishop's Fingers

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Whenever I come across a recipe with a name such as this I am instantly intrigued and here in the UK there is no shortage of recipes with unusual names.  Think of things like Spotted Dick, or Hollygog Pudding.  See what I mean??? With names like that,  you immediately want to know more!

Such was the case when I ran across this biscuit recipe that I found in a baking book I have entitled Mary Berry's Baking Bible, over 250 classic recipes. Yes, Mary Berry of the GBBO fame. I saw this recipe and I thought to myself  . . . wow, I wonder what is the story behind those.

I was determined to establish a history but alas, I was unable to find out.  I can only think that the recipe must date back to a time in English history when the church was held in very high esteem, and these were the sort of biscuits (cookie) that might be baked and trotted out on special occasions, especially occasions when the church Bishop might be in attendance! 

It certainly makes sense as one would want to bring out the very best on just such an occasion and these are certainly the very best! They are also cut into fingers! DUH!

Crumbly, buttery and sweet, exactly what one would expect from a shortbread type of biscuit.  These are perfect, and even tastier than what I always thought was my best classic shortbread biscuits.  In fact I would go so far as to say they are as good as my Peppermint Petticoat Tails, and that is saying a lot! 

I am a connoisseur of short bread biscuits.  I have always loved them.  In fact short breads are not safe in any room that I am in because I will pester them and pick at them, until they are gone.  I don't think I am alone in that!  I think most people have a fondness for a good shortbread biscuit.

Sweet and buttery, short almost like pastry, but moreish like a cookie.  Mmmm . . .  I hope you will try these and soon.  Don't just save them for a special occasion or visitor.  Surely YOU are worth a treat like this once in a while yourself!

*Bishop's Fingers*
Makes 12 fingers

A delicious shortbread cookie topped with flaked almonds.  Delicious with a hot cuppa. 

100g plain flour (3/4 cup minus 2 tsp.)
25g ground almonds (scant 1/3 cup)
25g semolina (2 TBS + 3/4 tsp)
100g butter (7 TBS)
50g Castor sugar (1/4 cup)
few drops almond extract
25g flaked almonds (1/3 cup)
caster or granulated sugar for dusting  

Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.  Lightly butter a shallow 7 inch square baking tin.

Whisk together the flour, almonds and semolina.  Drop in the butter, sugar and almond extract.  Rub together with your fingers until the mixture just begins to come together. Knead lightly until smooth and then press into the prepared pan, smoothing the top over with the back of a metal spoon.  Sprinkle the flaked almonds over top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven until a very pale golden brown.  Mark into 12 fingers with a knife and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.  Leave to cool in the tin.  when completely cold cut into fingers and lift out carefully.  Store in an airtight tin.

Note - if at the end of the baking time the underside is not a pale golden brown, return to the oven for a further 5 to 10 minutes.

Whether you bake these for yourself, or you bake them for the Bishop, or  another special occasion you are sure to love these lovely biscuits.  I mean Mary Berry . . .  you just know up front that the recipe is a winner!  Pour the tea now and pinkies at the ready
.  Bon appetit!

 Note - I didn't have any semolina in the cupboard today, but I did have Cream of Wheat which is pretty much the same thing, and it worked beautifully!


  1. They look really delicious. I must admit my first thought was that they were to be eaten with the beer of the same name!

    1. Fill your boots Jay! Who knows! It might be an incredible combination!

  2. Aww..I know I ........will........MAKETHESE!

    Do you have any of Mary's books Marie?
    I do fancy her:)

    1. I do Monique. One of the first cookbooks I bought myself after moving over here was her book entitled "Merry Berry's Ultimate Cake Book." It has become my gold standard! I think you would love it! xo PS - These biscuits are fabulous!

  3. I'm looking forward to making these. At first I was dismayed at the semolina flour as this would be pretty much the only time I'd use it, so was especially delighted at your substitution hint of cream of wheat, of which I have in abundance. Thank you so much!

    1. You are going to love, Love, LOVE these Katy! They are soooooo good! You are welcome! xo

  4. I'm baking these for Sunday afternoon tea ~ today!

  5. Like you, I'm a sucker for shortbread so consider it printed out and hopefully soon enough. I won't wait too long, I promise!


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