Scotch Petticoat Tails (Petits Gateaux Tailes)

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I know I know…this is suppose to be about Middle Eastern Redactions not English.  Every one and their dog does English…but I LOVE short bread.  Really good buttery melt in your mouth short bread is just heavenly.  /Swoon!  So…since I couldn’t find the equivalent in all of my Middle Eastern books for flour, sugar, and butter, I had to go with English.  Now I did add a few flourishes that weren’t period, well because I had a really new nifty pie pan I wanted to try out.  You’ll see the results in just a moment!

Next post will be about some thing very very Middle Eastern though.  Promise!

Scotch Petticoat Tails

Petits Gateaux Tailes

Circa 1568:Rub six ounces butter into one pound of flour, then mix in six ounces of powdered sugar and a teaspoonful of baking powder.  Add a little water, and work into a smooth dough with the hands.  Divide into two portions.  Roll into round cakes about the size of a dinner plate.  Cut a round cake from the center of each with a cutter four inches in diameter, then divide the outside of each into eight.  Prick all over each with a fork. Dust with the finest of sugar, and bake on buttered tins in a moderate oven for about twenty minutes, till crisp and golden.  Dust with castor sugar.

Craig, pp. 112-113


6 oz. butter       1lb of flour        6 oz powdered sugar    1 tsp. baking powder

1 oz sugar for dusting


When combining the ingredients,

I stirred the flour, sugar and baking powder together to achieve a well mixed consistency in the dry ingredients.

I used chilled butter, cut into squares,  and worked into the dry mixture till everything reached a cornmeal stage then continued working till the butter was fully incorporated.

When the mixture could be saturated with no more butter I added just a touch of water to allow a dough to form.  Here I cheated slightly.  I had a nifty fluted edged pie pan I wanted to try out on with a sweet crust and thought short bread would be the thing.  So instead of dividing the dough into two, I pressed the dough into a non stick (period wise the pan would need to have been well buttered or oiled) fluted pie pan

and cooked for 20 minutes.

Now you may wonder why the fork marks (actually a tooth pick was used).  I have done a little reading on the subject and the over all consensus is that it was a) traditional and b) used to let the steam from the melting butter out with out creating craters in the dough.

There is also suppose to be a circle taken out of the center but I did not have a circle cutter to fit and I like the whole pie cookie idea.  So I left the center whole.

The original marks and cuts actually baked away so I redid them while the cookies were cooling for that shortbread look.  Not sure why the holes closed in, instead of baking into the hardening dough, but they did.  I’ll keep trying till I get it right though!

The cookies came out very very tasty.  Not quite period but very good.

The cookies were crispy on the edges with a golden brown color, while slightly chewy and moist in the center.

A closer look at the fluted edges.  Really cool!

A final picture with all the cookies on a plate before they were devoured by the hungry hoards.  They were sweet crunchy/chewy and oooh so decedant. Well worth doing again and again.

I like the fluted edges and will probably use this recipe to make a cookie crust for a plum pie next time.