Tuesday, 26 April 2016

History Bakers: Scotch Shortbread – Hull Style

This month's recipe:

April's recipe comes from a periodical in the Local Studies Collection called The Hull Lady [L.052.082].

We hold issues covering the period 1901-1902 and each issue includes ‘Our Cookery Class’ by R. Bond, Instructor, Hull Nautical School of Cookery. Every month a range of recipes are featured and this one is taken from the March 1902 edition.

The magazine contains other interesting articles such as ‘Town Topics’ and the ‘Hull Lady Visits...’. Subjects covered include visits to places like the workhouse or the police station, and these articles give a fascinating insight into Hull at the beginning of the 20th Century. The magazine also features many adverts which can be a great source of information about Hull's local economy and business activities at the turn of the century.


  • One pound Flour [Plain]
  • Half pound of butter
  • Quarter pound caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of Caraway Seeds
  • Salt-spoonful of Baking powder [i.e. a very small amount]
  • Piece of candied Peel



Weigh out flour, butter and sugar to the correct weight. Put butter and sugar into bowl and beat with the back of a spoon until white and creamy. Add flour gradually and rub in with hands, work in the caraway seeds and baking powder and continue rubbing for 20-30 minutes or until all is mixed in like a paste.... I began the rubbing in method by hand but cheated and put the mixture in the food processor. It is quite a dry mixture and did not come together particularly well. It might be worth adding some beaten egg to bring the mixture together.

Mixing stage

Press out paste into a cake about ½ inch thick. Pinch all round the edge into a fancy border and prick with fork. Put candied peel cut in strips on the top.... I could not buy any candied peel in strips so used the traditional kind. I also decided to make individual biscuits as I thought it would travel better. The mixture made 30 biscuits so if you do decide to make it as a round you would need to make at least two rounds.

Ready for baking

Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes in a moderate oven (I cooked them for 15 minutes at 180°C). Remove from oven and allow shortbread to cool before cutting. Best kept for several days before eating.

The finished product!

Here are some of our staff thoughts after the tasting...

Verity - Lovely, smooth and buttery
Claire - Good texture, lovely delicate flavour
Elspeth - Very moreish, filling and delightful!
Christine - Very enjoyable with a lovely hint of fruit
Alex - Really tasty, slightly citrusy!
Martin - Tasty, very nice
Dave - Very nice and buttery with a hint of citrus
Laura - Great texture, lovely biscuit
Paul - Right nice and tasty
Michele - Delicious, moreish, flavourful

Elaine Moll, Librarian

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