I felt the need for biscuits the morning and now I’m baking more often, McVities just don’t hit the mark. I had another browse through Jo Wheatley’s A Passion for Baking and whilst very tempted by her custard creams however I don’t have any custard powder so I decided to make her Pistachio and Orange Shortbread hearts instead.
These are not even close to instant gratification biscuits, there are two sessions of chilling dough in the fridge which to be honest is a bit of a pain when I just wanted to take a short break from my desk to mix up some biscuits and I ended up leaving my youngest to take them out of the oven whilst I went to a meeting. The double chilling would be fine if you’re pottering around doing not a lot in an evening or if you plan a baking sessions with strict timings.
There was a lovely orange scent as I rolled out the dough. Elder son liked them well enough to eat several but wouldn’t chose them if I asked what he wanted me to bake, younger son was more taken with them but he has a more sophisticated palate and an interest in baking. These would be a very nice addition to a sophisticated afternoon tea but I wouldn’t make them for children’s/teen’s tea.
- 60g unsalted pistachios, shelled
- 225g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 60g semolina
- zest of 1 orange, finely grated
- Whizz the pistachios in a food processor and tip into a bowl. Add the butter, caster sugar, flour and semolina, and using your fingers rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the grated orange zest and work until the mixture comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead very gently until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough out to a thickness of about 4mm. Using heart-shaped cutters, stamp out cookies and arrange on lined baking trays. Gather any dough off cuts into a ball and re-roll to make more cookies. Chill for a further 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven 170°C/325°F/ Gas Mark 3. Bake the cookies on the middle shelf of the oven for about 15–18 minutes or until pale golden. Remove from oven, sprinkle with caster sugar then transfer to wire racks to cool.