Petticoat Tails (elegant shortbread) – from Classic Scots Cookery (2004)
This was first made by high-class Edinburgh bakers and takes its name from the shape of the petticoat hoops worn by women in the nineteenth century. It’s thought by commercial bakers that it was first made as a more elegant type of shortbread – suitable for the ladies’ tea tables.
Yield one round
200g (7oz) plain flour
50g (2oz) icing sugar
75g (3oz) butter, softened
25g (1oz) vegetable fat or lard
For dredging: caster sugar
Greased and floured baking tray
Preheat the oven to fan oven 130C/Gas 3
MIXING: Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and lard and rub in the fats till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead together into a firm dough. This can be done in a food processor, starting on a low speed and avoiding over mixing.
SHAPING: Dust the work surface with flour and roll out to a round about 5mm (¼ inch) thick. Crimp the edges with finger and thumb to decorate and prick all over with a fork. Cut a small circle from the centre with a scone cutter. Divide the remaining circle into 12 wedge-shaped biscuits – the ‘petticoat tails’ and place on greased and floured baking tray.
BAKING: Bake for 20 minutes then raise the heat to 180C/Gas 4 and continue baking till they are a light golden brown. Sprinkle with sugar while still warm.