In the back of my mind I have a plan to retire some day to a small lemon farm. Yes, some place where the weather is warm enough for citrus trees to survive outside all year round – my kind of climate. For now though, I have to accept that Yorkshire is not the ideal place for growing lemons, and to date my farm consists of two small (really small) trees in pots. These trees are currently to be found sitting out the cold weather in our living room. I’ve only had the trees for a few weeks and, as this is my first venture into citrus growing, I don’t really know what to expect, but I have high hopes for them.
The flavour of lemons combines really well with rosemary (which is more tolerant of the Yorkshire climate and growing happily in the garden). Added to a really good shortbread mix, they give these lovely buttery biscuits an interesting flavour twist.
Lemon and Rosemary Shortbread
175g plain flour
115g unsalted butter
60g golden caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of shortbread
finely grated zest of 1 large, unwaxed lemon
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Preheat your oven to 160oC / Gas 3.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour until it looks like you have a bowl of fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, lemon zest and rosemary.
Using your hands, gently squidge the mixture together until it forms a ball of soft dough. Lightly flour your work surface, and roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick. Using a cutter or an upturned glass, cut out the biscuits and put them on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
Bake the shortbread for 30 minutes, until the biscuits are just starting to turn golden brown. Sprinkle the extra sugar over the top of the shortbread while it’s still hot, and then cool on a wire rack.
The shortbread is great for with a cup of coffee, and tastes just fantastic with a bowl of chocolate ice cream.