Tillypronie Orange Fool with Orange Shortbread

Lady Clarke of Tillypronie wrote a wonderful cookery book in 1909. I once asked the late great Elizabeth David what was her favourite book and she replied ‘Lady Clarke’s’. Today I am honoured to possess Elizabeth David’s copy as a present from her family. It is well used and annotated in her familiar hand. Southover Press have produced a facsimile edition, and I do recommend it to you. I copy the orange fool exactly here–it is so easy and simple, and very, very good:

‘Take a pint [600ml] of cream, beat 3 eggs well into it; and add the juice of 6 sweet oranges and the grated rind of a Seville orange; sugar to your taste and stir well over the fire till it thickens.’ I cook it in a double boiler, then turn it out to cool and serve with the shortbread.

Annie Bell’s food is responsible for my career as a cookery book seller. It is a long and complicated story, but suffice it to say that I ate her food enthusiastically every day for six months and could never fault it. If you remember that she is a vegetarian, which I very much am not, I can find no higher praise. Today she is a much-acclaimed food writer, and in her book, Feast of Flavours, she has transformed my old shortbread recipe with the addition of orange rind.

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Ingredients

  • 225 g/8 oz butter
  • 70 g/ oz caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 200 g/7 oz plain flour
  • finely grated rind of 3 oranges
  • 115 g/4 oz ground almonds

Method

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process to a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill overnight.

Roll out to 1 cm/½ in thickness and cut into shapes. Transfer to a baking tray. Leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

Bake in a preheated oven at 140°C/275°F/Gas 1 for 40 minutes or until golden. Remove to racks to cool. Store in airtight containers.

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