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Petticoat Tails

These traditional Scottish shortbread biscuits date back beyond the 12th century. The triangles fit together into a circle and were the same shape as the pieces of fabric used to make a full-gored petticoat in Elizabethan times. The biscuits got their name because in those days the word for a pattern was a 'tally', and so the biscuits became known as 'petticote tallis.

ingredients

makes 8
100 g (4 oz) butter, softened
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar, plus extra for dredging
150 g (5 oz) plain flour
50 g (2 oz) ground rice

method

1. in a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

2. Gradually stir in the flour and ground rice. Draw the mixture together and press into an 18 cm (7 inch) round sandwich tin.

3. Prick well all over, pinch up the edges with a finger and thumb. Mark into 8 triangles with a sharp knife. Bake at 170°C (325°F) mark 3 for about 40 minutes, until pale straw in colour.

4. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, cut into 8 triangles, then dredge with caster sugar. Remove from the tin when cold. Store in an airtight container.

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