175g plain flour
120g unsalted butter
60g caster sugar
1 tablespoon raspberry jam
100g icing sugar
Prep to Cook:
Oven on 180C or Gas 4
Get out mixing bowl and spatula
Grease a bun tray using a pastry brush and dot of cooking oil if it is not a good non-stick one
1. Prep the biscuits:
Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl
Add the sugar and stir
Rub the butter and vanilla into the flour and sugar with your fingertips
The mixture should work itself into a paste.
Alternately use the food processor to do the work for you.
Tip the shortbread onto floured table top
Divide into 10 portions and press each portion into a bun tray
Cook very gently 180C or Gas 4 for 20 minutes max
When cooked the biscuits will still look pale and should not be ‘golden’
Allow the biscuits to cool on the baking tray
2. Prep the filling:
Mix raspberry jam in a cup until it is soft and spreadable
Now spread half the shortbreads with raspberry jam
Place a second biscuit over the base
3. Prep a thick icing:
4 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar with 4 tsp boiled water
Beat the icing until smooth and then drop a teaspoon of icing on each sandwich biscuit
Decorate with half a half cherry if you want a really traditional ‘Empire Biscuit’
Allow to go cold
4. Prep to eat: Use paper cases to catch the crumbs!
‘Empire biscuits’ make you think of holidays in Scotland. When you have been out all day and trekked across bracken and around lochs or simple been outdoors these taste amazing. Making them takes three stages and brings an anticipation that is worth waiting for. Perfect picnic food.
Change the jam if you want – red looks nice but you could use lemon curd and add lemon juice to the icing, tangy and irresistible
Cooks Know How: You will develop the art of making 'rubbed in'' biscuit mixture now so you will recognise when a rubbed-in mix is perfect. You will notice that you can use simple store cupboard ingredients without fuss to create a satisfying biscuit. You will improve your skills in filling and also in decorating. You will enjoy using the bun tray to shape the shortbread and see the value of a palette knife to ease the biscuits out of the tins. You will see how using the cooling rack helps the biscuits to set and firm up. You will now understand the way to make glace icing and use it effectively.
Add the zest of a lemon into the shortbread and the juice in the icing. Use a star cutter instead of the bun tray to shape the biscuits. Make them with someone else and enjoy the fun.