This idea came to me by accident, really. I’m always a fan of shortbread, so any excuse for that. But the orange part happened when a lonely orange, languishing in the fruit bowl, happened to cross my field of vision whilst I was enjoying a Sunday morning browse through Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess.
I happened to spot Nigella’s cute little Lemon Gems and immediately wanted to create similar little dollops topped with something rich and citrus-y. Lacking the vegetable shortening required by the recipe, however, and not feeling much inclined to go out hunting for some, another hearty biscuit was needed.
Shortbread is the heartiest of the hearty in my opinion. My friend the internet tells me that shortbread is so named due to its texture, as an old meaning of the word ‘short’ was ‘crumbly.’
My go-to shortbread is recipe is the trusty Edmonds’ and so I very naughtily used it here…and I say naughty, as I’m using not using Edmonds as part of my Edmonds Challenge, which reminds me that I am due some more excitement with that particular endeavour. And so, I mixed things up by deviating from the recipe slightly with the addition of ginger.
Edmonds asks the following, and I have added my ginger tinkerings…
Cream 250g butter and 1 cup of icing sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. Sift 1 cup of cornflour and 2 cups of flour together. If you’re me, at this point also add 1.5 teaspoons of ground ginger and 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger to the flour and cornflour. Mix the dry and creamed ingredients together, knead and roll out to 0.5cm thickness on a floured board.
At this point, I transferred the shortbread to an oven tray and it into rectangles. I used a (clean!) fingertip to make little craters in the biscuit and popped them into a 150 degree celsius oven.
And now for the curd. Seeing as I was having a Nigella day anyway, I used her recipe for lime curd, replacing the lime juice and zest with the juice and zest of my orange, along with a quick squeeze of lemon juice.
When my indented shortbread had become pale golden (which took about half an hour) I removed it from the oven and filled the little craters with the orange curd.
It was a creamy, custardy curd which was rather pleasant with the shortbread. And the whole lot went at work the next day, so they can’t be all bad.