Portion/Yield:Makes about 22 - 24 biscuits
This recipe is dedicated to my friends Simon and Libby who owns a wonderful B&B called Swan Hill House in Devon.
This shortbread recipe is slightly different to the traditional recipes that you can find. I love it it’s short in texture, the polenta give it a bite and the orange and sumac provides the sing against the butteriness. Absolutely delicious. I make these for to serve with desserts or simply to be served with a cup of tea.
I made this recipe regularly at the British Larder pub, sometimes I substituted the orange for lemon or lime depending on what I wanted to achieve. The dough also freezes well, I made large batches and shaped it into sausages, frozen the sausages of dough and defrost and bake as I needed it.
What is sumac? Sumac is a deep red purple berry that grows on a small tree like shrub and is one of 250 species of flowering trees from the genus Rhus and is in the family anacardiaceae. Edible wild sumac is not to be confused with poisonious sumac which also has red berries. The two varieties are related and are also distantly related to the mango and cashew trees. The purple red berry is dried, ground and often used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony tang to salads and meats. In Arabic cuisines sumac is used to sprinkle over mezze such as hummus. In Iranian, Kurdish and Persian cuisines sumac is added to rice and kebabs. Sumac is also best known for its use in the composition of Za’atar spice mix as its the main ingredient.
Ingredients & Method
- 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 55g caster sugar + extra for baking
- Zest or 2 oranges
- 50g polenta
- 100g plain flour
- 30g corn flour
- Wild sumac
Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy.
Add the polenta and cream the mixture for a further 1 minute.
Fold the flour and cornflour into the creamed butter mixture.
Transfer the dough onto clingfilm and form into a sausage shape about 3cm in diameter, refrigerate for 1 hour.
Unwrap the dough sausage, roll it in caster sugar and re-roll into its original shape and thickness. Refrigerate until hard, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Cut shortbread disks ½ cm thick slices, remove the clingfilm and roll each slice in more caster sugar, and place on baking tray, sprinkle sumac.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until cooked but not browned, dust with more sugar once it comes out of the oven.
Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack until complete cooled.
Keep the biscuits in a airtight container.