A sugared egg white glaze with almonds and mixed peel gives this shortbread round a crunchy top.
175g (6 oz) standard flour 50g (1¾ oz) rice flour 1¼ tsp ground ginger 175g (6 oz) butter, softened 50g (1¾ oz) caster sugar Finely grated zest of 1orange 1 small egg white, beaten until frothy 3 Tbsp chopped blanched almonds 2 Tbsp finely chopped mixed peel Caster sugar for sprinkling
1 This shortbread can be made in a food processor (read the notes below first). Have the flour, rice flour and ground ginger sifted together in a bowl. Put the butter in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until whipped. Sprinkle in the caster sugar and carry on processing until well blended and light, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Whip in the orange zest. Stop the machine and sprinkle over the dry ingredients. Use the pulse button to blend together until the mixture forms beads, then turn onto a work surface, flour lightly and knead quickly into a ball. Press into a thick round, wrap in plastic food wrap and chill for 15 minutes.
2 If making by hand, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light, work in the orange rind, then blend in the dry ingredients. Quickly knead together, then wrap and chill.
3 Roll shortbread dough into a 20cm (8”) circle on a baking sheet (tray) lined with baking (parchment) paper, protecting the top with plastic wrap. Crimp the edges and prick the surface with a fork. If the dough keeps breaking during rolling, knead lightly then roll again. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F). – do not use Fanbake or any accelerated baking setting.
4 Lightly brush the top of the shortbread with beaten egg white. Scatter almonds and mixed peel on top and sprinkle with a little caster sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes. If the top starts to colour too quickly (check after 20 minutes), drape with a sheet of tin foil to reflect top heat. Cool on a wire rack, marking into 8 triangles while still warm. Store in an airtight container.
The butter needs to be squishy soft – but not oiled – to ensure it mixes well with the rest of the ingredients to form a light shortbread. Oiled butter will make a heavy greasy shortbread. Rice flour gives this shortbread a crunchy texture, and almonds and mixed peel add interest. The cooked shortbread is cut into segments while still warm – or at least it should be… I took a phone call just after I removed the one in the picture from the oven, and next thing … crumble city! (Still tastes good though.) It’ll keep for about 5 days in an airtight container.