Lime, clove & pine nut shortbread


Preparation info

  • For


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey


By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

I’m a big fan of shortbread - my Gran, Molly Gordon, was the world’s best shortbread baker as far as I’m concerned. The only negative thing I can say about this wonderful traditional biscuit is that I find the very pale ones (although traditionally they should have no colour) lacking in ... well... colour. I prefer them to have a tint of golden brown to them as I find the flavour more appealing. But then, as you’ll see in the following recipe, I make them even more rebellious by adding lime zest, pine nuts and cloves as well. What was I thinking? Trust me, they may be simply a flavoured shortbread, but this combination is great. I’ve been making biscuits and chocolates flavoured with lime and cloves for years and it’s still one of my favourite combinations.


  • 200 g butter, at room temperature
  • 90 g unrefined caster sugar, plus extra for dredging the shortbread
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 130 g cornflour
  • 2 good pinches of salt
  • 8 cloves, pounded (¼ tsp)
  • 50 g pine nuts, pounded
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime


Preheat oven to 160°C.

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale. Sift in the flour, cornflour, salt and cloves, then add the pine nuts and lime zest. Using your fingers, gently bring the mixture together - you don’t want to work it too hard.

Lay a large sheet of non-stick baking parchment on your bench and place the dough on top, off centre. Fold the other side of the parchment over it then roll out to around 1 cm thick - which will give you a sheet of dough around 20 x 30 cm. Transfer the sheet onto a flat baking tray and using a blunt knife, cut out 20 fingers, or whatever shape you’d like. Place the baking tray in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.

Take the tray out of the fridge, then carefully pull the fingers apart (run a blunt knife between the shortbread and the baking sheet to lift them up) as they spread during baking. Prick them all over with a fork and sprinkle with a little extra sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes or more, until pale golden, then take from the oven and let them cool on the tray for 10 minutes, before transferring to a cake rack to completely cool down. Transfer to an airtight container. They’ll keep for a week.