Total Time
1hr 30mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins

I was introduced to this recipe by Fiona, a friend with Scottish parents who lives in Wales, many years ago. She says that it is crucial to use butter and not margarine. I love this crispy shortbread - in particular fresh from the oven. Fiona sprinkles her shortbread with almond slivers and sugar and it's lovely that way, although I think that's her addition and it has nothing to do with the traditional recipe. You can also use this recipe as a base for strawberry shortcake. See note at the end of the directions.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. You will need an 8 inch (20cm) fluted flan tin with a loose base. However, Fiona doubles the recipe and uses a rectangular tin. I do the same.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C / gas mark 2).
  3. Beat the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon, then beat in the sugar, the sifted flour and the semolina. Work the ingredients together with the spoon, then finish off with your hands till you have a dough that doesn't leave any bits in the bowl.
  4. Transfer the dough to a flat surface and roll it out lightly to a round, then transfer the round to the tin. Press the mixture evenly into the tin, right into the fluted edges (if your tin is fluted). To make sure it's even you can give it a final roll with a small glass tumbler. Prick the shortbread all over with a fork or it will rise up in the centre while it's baking. Sprinkle the dough with slivered almonds if desired and a little bit of sugar.
  5. Bake the shortbread for 60-75 minutes on the centre shelf, then using a palette knife mark out the surface into twelve wedges while it's still warm. Leave it to cool in the tin, then remove the rim of the tin. Cut the shortbread into wedges (or into squares if you used a rectangular tin) and store in an airtight tin.
  6. Strawberry shortcake:.
  7. Make shortbread as above in an 8 inch tin. Leave it whole. Just before serving spread it with fresh cream or fromage frais and top it with strawberries. You may want to sweet your cream or strawberries with sugar.