f

Theme Layout

Boxed or Wide or Framed

Theme Translation

Display Featured Slider

Featured Slider Styles

Display Grid Slider

Grid Slider Styles

Display Trending Posts

Display Author Bio

No

Display Instagram Footer

Mary's Perfect Shortbread


Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 One of my favourite things here in the UK has to be Mary Berry.  I had never heard of her prior to moving over here. I think the only British chef I knew prior to moving here was Paul Rankin. I used to watch a show called Ready Steady Cook.

It had celebrity chef's on it, hosted by Ainsley Harriot ( another chef, who actually lives in Chester).  The Chefs were Paul Rankin, James Martin, Anthony Worrall Thompson, Phil Vickery, Lesley Water's, Nick Nairn, and a few others. Those are the names I remember.

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 I had actually seen Paul Rankin on PBS tv prior to moving here where he was on an Irish cooking show and I actually got to meet him in person about 12 or 13 years ago when I was on another cooking show here in the UK.  I had always thought him to be tall, but he's not.  Cute accent though and he thought my soup was gorgeous. 

Mary Berry was not on that show. I first became acquainted with her when I bought her cake baking book, and of course she was in the BBC Good Food magazine quite frequently.  Then of course The Great British Bake Off came along and now the whole world knows her!

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 I also got to meet Curtis Stone, Jean Christophe Novelli, Phil Vickery and Jamie Oliver through the years, not all at once.  I would have loved to meet Mary Berry, but instead I get to cook her recipes. I have never experienced a dud, which I can't say about some of the others! 

I have been going through papers and things and found this recipe for Mary's Perfect Shortbread which I had pulled out of a magazine a while back.  Easy Cook, but it doesn't say which year.

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

I thought this might be the only chance I have to bake them.  I won't be able to bring anything with me for the most part when I move back to Canada, so I thought to myself better now than never! 

Plus it is a horrible, rainy, wet and miserable day out there.  I thought losing myself in a bit of shortbread was not entirely a bad way to spend part of the day!

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 Shortbread has to be one of the easiest biscuits/cookies to bake, but you can also get it very wrong.  You need to handle the dough gently or you will make it tough.  You also have to make sure your hands are cool so that you don't melt the fat in the dough.

This means you need to work quickly when you are rubbing the butter into the flour. I always use cold butter, cutting it into bits and dropping it into the flour to rub it in. You could also use a pastry blender or a food processor I suppose, but your fingers work really well.  Just work quickly.

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 Pricking it all over with a fork once you have it rolled out and docked/fluted will ensure that any air caught in the pastry/dough will come out. This means that you won't end up with air bubbles in the shortbreads. 

Also chilling it in the refrigerator prior to baking also helps to ensure a crisp finish. You don't need to chill it for long. Ten minutes will do fine.

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 You also want to score it with a sharp knife prior to baking.  This recipe makes 8 wedges. What I do is to score it into quarters and the score each quarter in half. Works a charm.

Do not  cut them all the way through or separate them. I fluted the edge all the way around with my finger tips and also marked it the tines of a fork. I think it came out quite pretty.

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 Some of you will want to know what castor sugar is.  Castor sugar is a kind of granulated sugar which is used for baking here in the UK. I think it is very similar to fruit sugar in North America. 

Our granulated sugar here is much coarser than North American sugar.  Castor sugar is much finer. The reason that it is used for baking is because it melds into doughs and batters much faster.

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 You will find often here in the UK it is just stirred into batters and doughs because it melts so easily.  It gives a smooth finish whereas regular granulated sugar might give a grainy finish, which is not very desirable.

You can easily make your own castor sugar by running you granulated sugar through a food processor to grind it down a bit, or in a spice grinder.  What you don't want is to grind it to a powder!

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

 Once the shortbreads come out of the oven you will need to score them again, while they are still warm.  This time cut the all the way through to the bottom with a sharp knife. That way they won't break unevenly or crumble apart when it comes time to serve them. 

Again, the perfect finish.  Its little things like this. Handy little tips that make all the difference in the world. Especially when it comes to presentation!

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

Mary dusts her shortbreads with more castor sugar when it comes out of the oven as well.  Regular granulated sugar would probably just roll off.

The warmth of the shortbreads and the fact that it is finer, means that it adheres much better. It gives it a nice little sparkle that I think is really very pretty, and yet it doesn't feel gritty in the mouth.



As you can see these shortbreads have the perfect texture. I would expect nothing less from the Queen of the Great British Bake Off. I tell you, the show is just not the same now she has left it. I really miss her. 

I hope that you will be inspired to want to bake these very classic shortbread biscuits. Mary does give a few  options for varying the flavours as well, some of which sound quite, quite delicious! 

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

For nutty shortbreads, you can add 1/3 teaspoon of ground cardamom and a couple TBS of chopped pistachio nuts to the flour and cornflour in step one. For citrus shortbreads you can add the finely grated zest of one lemon to the flour mixture.

For chocolate orange, mix in 2 ounces (50g) finely chopped dark chocolate and the zest of one orange to the flour mixture.  For lavender add 1 tsp of culinary dried lavender to th dough. (Don't add more or it will taste like soap.)

 So there you have it Mary's Perfect Shortbreads. You can't go wrong!! (Christmas is coming!!  Perfect for tea parties also!)

Mary's Perfect Shortbread
Print

Mary's Perfect Shortbread

Yield: Makes 8 Biscuits
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 20 Mincook time: 35 Mintotal time: 55 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup less 2 TBS (125g) plain flour
  • 6 1/2 TBS (60g) cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tsp (125g) butter
  • 5 TBS (60g) castor sugar, plus more for sprinkling (fine granulated sugar)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.
  2. Sift the cornflour and flour into a bowl.  Rub the butter into the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in the sugar.  Knead gently until it forms a smooth dough. Shape into a round flat disk.
  3. Place onto a sheet of baking parchment. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to a disc which is 7 inches in diameter. (18 cm) Gently lift the baking parchment onto a baking sheet. Using your fingers crimp around the edges and prick all over with a fork. Using a sharp knife, score it lightly with a sharp knife into 8 even wedges.
  4. Chill until firm.
  5. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the shortbread is a pale golden colour. Mark the wedges again and dust lightly with more caster sugar.
  6. Leave to cool on the baking tray for five minutes, then carefully lift off to cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Cut into wedges to serve.

notes:

Make sure your hands are cool so that you don't melt the fat, or else your shortbread dough will be oily, which you don't want!
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen


Mary's Perfect Shortbread

This recipe was adapted from one found in Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook. You cannot beat Mary Berry for sound, good, fail-proof recipes! These shortbreads are excellent! 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin

QuickEdit
Marie Rayner
18 Comments
Share :

18 comments:

  1. I've never, ever had homemade shortbread. I guess I need to rectify that asap! I need to try this one, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to say it is an excellent recipe Jeannine! xoxo

      Delete
  2. These look so delicious Marie. The perfect thing for a rainy day. I have recently taken to pressing my dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom. It ruffles the edges beautifully. Now I think I must bake these little lovelies for a rainy afternoon treat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Noelle! I do have a tart pan with a removable bottom, but it was not quite the right size. It does give an even nicer finish I have to say! xoxo

      Delete
  3. I have always loved shortbread and this looks quite delicious - your photos invite me to lick the screen. I particularly liked the idea for making it into a nutty shortbread - you know I'd never ever thought to do that.

    Mary Berry's recipes are always reliable so we can agree on that. It's just the weather for some shortbread with a nice cup of tea, so I might see if I can summon the energy for an afternoon bake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I do so hope that you enjoyed it Marie. I have a weakness for shortbread. Thank you so much! xoxo

      Delete
  4. I have sooo many sb recipes..but if Mary and Marie say thumbs up..well thumbs up and I will make.I have fruit sugar here bought for another SB recipe..never knew castor sugar was fruit sugar..Here we have granulated..fine..fruit..jelling..light brown..dark brown..;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Monique. I am on pins and needles. I await your results! I hope it turns out as well for you as it does for me! xoxo

      Delete
  5. Looks delicious, added to my Paprika recipe app. For years I looked fir castor sugar after moving back to Canada from the UK, can now buy it at Bulk Barn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Linda! I hope you will make and like! I did not know you could buy it at Bulk Barn. Something for me to remember! xoxo

      Delete
  6. I have made shortbread many times but it's not my hubby's favourite. He prefers Scotch cookies more and actually so do I. My grandmother used to make them and then my mother. I grew up with them. My grandmother's recipe is probably around 110 years old and they were made with brown sugar and shortening instead of white sugar and butter. They are much more crunchy and lighter than any shortbread I have made. I haven't made the Scotch cookies yet because I was given my grandmother's recipe book not long ago, but one of these days I plan to make them. Your shortbread actually looks like Scotch cookies to me. They look very light, crunchy, and delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I must look for castors sugar at the Bulk Barn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure what Scotch Cookies are actually, but since shortbread is Scottish, its possible they are one and the same. I have made brown sugar shortbread in the past. Here is my recipe for that: https://www.theenglishkitchen.co/2014/10/brown-sugar-shortbread.html

      Perhaps they are similar? In any case I hope you will bake and enjoy these! xoxo

      Delete
  7. Oh I can't wait to try this recipe for shortbread. It looks and sounds delicious. I am also in love with your tea cup and saucer! Could you please tell me the name of the manufacturer and the pattern name? It's so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. I got this cup and saucer from a Scandanavian shop here in the UK. https://www.scandinavianpantry.co.uk/

      The manufacturer is Mynte. Hope this helps! xoxo

      Delete
  8. I make shortbread often but never have done one with cornstarch and Mary Berry never disappoints. I'll definitely try this one. (Ainsley Herroit lives in Chester? He's cool -- used to have a popular show here but haven't seen him on tv in years.)

    I must have missed posts recently - you are moving back to Canada? When and why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't really say why publically Jeanie, but trust me I have a very good reason. I am aiming to be gone by the end of November if possible. Wish me luck! And I do hope you will try these and enjoy! xoxo

      Delete
  9. Dear Marie, oh what fun it would be to join you on your first shop back in a Bulk Barn when you return, it has improved quite a lot since you moved over.

    You'll be excited to find many old familiar North American ingredients and a surprising amount of your new familiar items from across the pond. Can't wait to have you home and back with your family. Much love, Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I expect a lot of things are really different now and I will enjoy reacquainting myself with everything! Love and hugs, xoxo

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you so do not be shy! Please don't attempt to leave spam or comments with links. They will be deleted immediately. I don't even read them. Your comments will also not be posted if they are nasty either to myself or to other readers. Play nice.

Follow @georgialoustudios