Baking these thin, crisp, almond biscuits is the kitchen’s first job each day at Gidleigh Park. They are served warm with morning tea or coffee. We make the dough last thing at night. By morning it is rested perfectly.
2½oz (65g) whole almonds
10oz (275g) hard unsalted butter
9oz (250g) plain flour
3½oz (90g) caster sugar
apinch of salt
1 large egg white
a fewdrops of vanilla essence
Brown the almonds in the oven. Use a dry baking tray and a hot oven – 400°F (200°C) Gas 6. Shake the tray occasionally so that the almonds brown evenly. This should take 5 minutes only.
Allow the almonds to cool and then grind in a food processor.
Add the hard butter, piece by piece, then add the flour, sugar and salt. Process together.
Add the egg white and vanilla essence, process briefly, then chill well for a minimum of 1 hour.
Roll out the paste to ⅛in (3mm) thickness. Cut into 2in (5cm) rounds and then bake in a moderate oven – 325°F (160°C) Gas 3 – until brown, about 10 minutes.
As the biscuits are thin they are liable to cook unevenly if your oven is small or even a little faulty. Watch them occasionally as they bake and, if necessary, turn the tray around.
Move from baking tray to wire rack with a palette knife, and leave until cold.