Friday, December 21, 2007

food from the castle

if you like sweets, this is one of the best recipes you'll ever make. no joke.

it's no secret that shortbread & all its permutations, at this time of the year, is in no short supply. this version of shortbread, however, is really a cut above the rest — just a few minutes effort will reward you very thin ginger-laced squares topped with a sugary, almost fudge like topping which forces you to go for seconds and thirds ;)

the recipe is actually from scotland, from the famous 12th century skibo castle. the castle itself is famous for its exclusive carnegie club where only the privileged few who belong to it are able to enjoy the grounds of the castle, its amenities and all it has to offer in terms of being waited on, hand-and-foot.

if all the food tastes this good, i'll certainly join (dream on!).

Skibo Castle Ginger Shortbread Squares

once you try these squares, you'll know why everyone finds them irresistible. gingery, sweet and buttery, all covered with an incredibly good top layer of sugary goodness, shortbread doesn't get better than this.

makes one 9 x 16 inch batch


shortbread base:

1 1/4 c all purpose flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 heaped tsp ground ginger powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c (125 mL) unsalted butter

ginger topping:

3 oz (94g) unsalted butter
1 tbsp lyle's golden syrup or corn syrup
1 c icing sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


preheat oven to 350F. lightly grease 9 x 13 inch pyrex or baking tray.

make base:

place dry ingredients in bowl and blend well.

either add butter and mix by hand until blended and crumbly or place dry ingredients in processor with butter & blend.

place the dry ingredients in the pyrex.

with your hand, pack the mixture down firmly. this is very important.

bake the shortbread base for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned.

in the meantime, make the topping mixture. this MUST be done about 5 to 7 minutes before the base is cooked as both the base and the topping need to be hot at the same time.


place the butter in a pan or a microwaveable bowl.

melt the butter.

add the dry ingredients with the vanilla and syrup to the melted butter.

mix it well until all is blended.

place the mix back in the microwave and bring it to a boil (watch it while it cooks). should only take about 40 seconds or so. let the mix cook for 30 seconds. if doing on stovetop, same directions.

putting it together:

remove the shortbread base from the oven and place on countertop.

immediately pour the hot topping over the base and make sure to get all of it out. with oven mitts, tilt the pan to make sure the topping reaches all the sides and is even.

leave the pyrex to cool down until almost cold; i cut it while it's still a bit warm.

with a very sharp knife, cut directly down into the pastry. cut neat squares or rectangles, as large as you like.



TopChamp said...

This looks a lot like tablet rather than shortbread... Maybe I'll give it a try to see.

I do love ginger. And it goes well at Christmas.

burekaboy — said...

TC - i think it's really worth trying [once!] ;) what is tablet, btw? shortbread is the generic term here...

if you want it very gingery, i'd maybe increase the ginger content a bit by 1/2 tsp. you could probably add very finely chopped stem ginger also/too in the base. i kind of prefer it the way it is in the original here.