I first had a taste of lavender when I lived in Aix en Provence. My weekly treat was a whole morning at the Saturday market. I would go from stall to stall practising my French with the traders and sampling their wonderful wares – yeah OK – I was a student so it was a free breakfast and free lunch! Anyway, one of them gave me a biscuit once and it tasted pretty close to the shortbread recipe below. It was truly magical and will always be a flavour of Provence for me.
- 400g soft unsalted butter
- 400g plain flour
- 200g cornflour
- 200g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp dried lavender flowers
- (or you can use sifted lavender sugar but you’ll get a coarser crumb)
To make them
- Preheat the oven to 160C
- Mix the sugar and flours together so there’s an even distribution.
- Add the butter and finely chopped/processed lavender flowers and mix it all up by hand or in a food processor until it lumps up into a ball.
- Press this out into a baking tin – square or circular – it doesn’t matter really as long as the shortbread is about half a centimetre thick. I use a little Indian balti dish but the back of a spoon works just as well.
- Run a ruler across the pressed mixture to even it out further and then gently score into pieces using a sharp knife.
- Prick each piece gently with a fork and then bake for around 20 minutes til just turning brown on the sides.
- Leave to cool in the tin and then sprinkle with lavender sugar before serving.
I use these to sandwich some blackcurrants and crème fraiche or half dipped in dark chocolate and placed on top of the lavender cake to make it even more decadent.