Friday, April 29, 2011

Aila's Shortcake

Aila was my Mother-in-Law.
She was a bloody-minded, determined, stroppy old bag.
She was also an entertainer, a raconteur - with a huge fund of naughty stories. She preferred the company of men to that of women.
She called herself a good, plain cook and she made the best roast dinners ever.
She smoked like a chimney, drank whiskey and knew more rude words than I do - and she would use them at the most inappropriate times.
She was funny and often very kind. We got on very well because very early on in our relationship I decided I would never fight with an old lady. Also, because I always did exactly as I was told.
I miss her still.

Aila's Shortcake

125g butter - softened
125g sugar - I used sugar which had vanilla beans buried in it.
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
225g flour - I am using a blend of flours recommended by Karina at
I used a combination of sorghum flour, buckwheat flour and tapioca starch. Karina uses xanthan gum in her blend. I don't have any (and I think they sound a bit yucky - a technical term which means... ick)
so I didn't put any in my flours mix.

Cream the butter and sugar.
Add the egg - beat
Tip in the flour and baking powder and beat again - this is a very soft dough which can easily be made with a hand-held electric beater - which is good, because I don't have a stand mixer.
Tear off four even-sized pieces of baking paper - big enough to line a pie dish.
Carefully measure three-quarters of the mixture onto one piece of baking paper..... na, just kidding! There is no 'carefully' in this recipe - just roughly 3/4.
Put another piece of the baking paper on top of the dough, then press the dough till it fits the base and sides of your pie dish. Put the paper covered dough in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden up a little.
Do the same process again, pressing the dough out to cover the top of your pie, and refrigerate that too.
Don't be too precious about getting the measurements right.
This dough is very forgiving - gaps smoodge together beautifully.
Take the dough from the fridge.
Put the base circle into your pie dish and quickly remove the top layer of baking paper.
Fill the pie with whatever you want - I used a mixture of peaches and sliced apple.

Take one piece of paper off your top piece of dough and plop it dough-side down on top of the filling.
Peel the last piece of paper off... I'm thinking as I write this, that I really don't need to be so pedantic about instructions because, frankly if you can't figure this out for yourself, you really need to be reading someone else's blog...
Skrunkle the edges over to fit the top, and don't worry about any holes that you rip in the pastry.

Sprinkle with sugar - I used sugar that I have stored in this lovely little container that we bought at a market in Vietnam. It's made of cinnamon bark and scents the sugar (the same way the vanilla beans

Bake the pie at about180c or until it is golden.

Serve to a happy husband for his birthday.
This is good hot, warm or at room temperature.
Aila would often make it with jam in the middle.


Bodacious Boomer said...

Skrunkle? What a great word.

I was actually going to make a shortcake for dinner tomorrow; but round here it's a tall, sweet biscuity thing that we split and fill with sliced, sweetened fruit. Then we top it with whipped cream.

I'm keeping your recipe. Perhaps I'll have better luck with it than I do the crust recipe that I have. Mine come out like shoeleather.

Anonymous said...

We call this a shortcrust pie. The best...butter is the only way to go!

I'm Susan Szold. said...

This does not look MANKY at all! I have been using that word all day and tryinf to convince everyone I know to include it in their vocabularies. It's my favorite new word. Tried to write this on your FB wall but there was no opportunity to write....odd.

Janet NZ said...

Miss BB - if you don't HAVE to be gluten-free, I would recommend you use 'regular' flour. The gluten-free version is NOT the same - it's not bad, but Aila's original is FABULOUS!
Ina - I love butter! (But, I WOULD say that - as an ordinary Kiwi girl)
Susan - Facebook doesn't work well for me at all, I can't import my blog, I can't find friends... technology is beyond me!

my darling lemon thyme said...

I love that cinnamon bark jar! I must ask family back in vietnam to look for one ;-) Xx

Anonymous said...

Where did you buy sorghum flour in NZ? I haven't seemed to be able to get it (other then online, which I prefer not to do).