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Petticoat Tails

A baking speciality of the Lothians, now made commercially, which takes its name from the shape of the petticoat hoops worn in the nineteenth century. The original recipe in Meg Bods' Cook and Housewife's Manual included a little milk, which is not used today;
otherwise it is simply a good shortbread with an interesting shape. It is a ladies' shortbread, as men usually prefer the thick fingers.

Petticoat Tails
7 oz plain flour (200 g)
3 oz butter (75 g)
1 oz lard (25 g)
2 oz icing sugar (50 g)
1 dsp caraway seeds
(optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C or gas mark 4. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and lard and rub in fats till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add caraway seeds and then turn the mixture out onto a board and knead together into a firm dough. Roll out into a large round about a quarter of an inch (half a cm) thick. Crimp the edges with your finger and thumb. Prick all over with a fork then cut a circle out of the centre. Divide the rest of the circle into either twelve, eighteen or twenty-four pieces, depending on the size you want. Bake on a greased baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until they are a pale golden brown.
Dredge with caster sugar while still hot.

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