Raspberry Shortcakes

Ingredients (makes 4)

For the shortbread:

100g softened butter

50g cashew nuts (or use 50g more flour)

125g plain flour

For the filling:

125ml double cream

1 tbsp (15ml) icing sugar

½ tsp (2.5ml) vanilla essence

2-3 punnets raspberries

Fresh mint to decorate (optional!)

Raspberry Shortcakes

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan/325F/gas mark 3 and lightly oil a baking sheet. Finely grind the cashew nuts in a blender or processor (or chop them finely).
  2. Put the butter into a mixing bowl and check it is really soft by stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the sugar and cream together with the butter by beating well until it is pale and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the chopped cashews.
  4. Add the flour and stir gently until the mixture begins to come together into a rough dough.
  5. Tip out onto the lightly floured work surface and use your hands as lightly and briefly as possible to bring the dough together into a ball – don’t over work it.
  6. Make sure the work surface is still floured and pat the dough out with the heel or knuckles of your hand until it is about ½ cm (1/4“) thick, rolling lightly if necessary to smooth the surface.
  7. Cut 4 rounds with a cutter 7-8cm across, re roll lightly then cut 4 more with a 4-5cm cutter.
  8. Place on the prepared baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are just beginning to brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes on the tray, then move to a rack to cool completely.
  10. Meanwhile, combine the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla essence and beat until thick – being very careful not to over-whip: stop beating just before it is thick enough to hold its shape, as you can always thicken it slightly more with a spoon as you add it to the shortbreads.
  11. Put one large shortbread onto each serving plate (or onto a large dish). Spoon on a generous dollop of the cream, then add some raspberries (I found I could get about 16 on each biscuit).
  12. Put a little cream on the bottom of a smaller biscuit to help it to stick.
  13. Add it on top of the raspberries and add a further dab of cream and a raspberry to decorate.
  14. Finally, just before serving, dust with a little icing sugar and add a tiny sprig of mint.