Perfect raspberry shortcake recipe

Thomasina Miers chooses one of her favourite cake recipes for Country Life.

‘Jeremy has recently started cooking at Quo Vadis in London’s Soho.

As a result, this brilliant Scot is making legions of fans happy with his short menu of delicious, seasonal food. One of the exquisite dishes is a stick of salsify or asparagus (depending on the time of year) wrapped in a Parmesan crisp, sprinkled with more Parmesan and doused with a slick of extravirgin olive oil.

Another is a plate of tiny chicken livers, sautéed until crisp, wrapped in streaky bacon and tossed in sage butter- perfect for picking up in your fingers and demolishing. This shortcake is another example of his fine cooking, and I can’t think of a nicer pudding on a summer’s day’

Raspberry shortcake (serves 4)
Extract from Great British Menu Cookbook (published by Dorling Kindersley)

For the shortcake
125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
40g (1.oz) caster sugar
1tsp finely grated orange zest
170g (6oz) plain flour
40g (1.oz) blanched best quality almonds, freshly ground (quite fine, but still with some texture)
40g (1.oz) toasted white breadcrumbs (see below)

For the raspberries
250ml (9fl oz) double cream
A large bowl of raspberries
A small bowl of caster sugar
A little icing sugar, for sifting

Beat the butter and sugar together well until pale. Add the orange zest and beat very well.

Add the flour, ground almonds and breadcrumbs, and mix thoroughly into a soft dough.

Place a large piece of baking parchment onto a work surface.

Place the dough at one end of the paper, then roll it in the paper to make a sausage shape roughly 5cm (2in) in diameter.

Seal the sausage in the paper and chill overnight.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F/ gas mark 3. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.

Cut the roll of shortcake dough into slices the thickness of a £1 coin and lay them on baking parchment. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave the shortcake to cool and become crisp. Choose the 12 best shortcakes, and store the rest for another time.

When ready to serve, whip the cream to soft peaks. Apply a comma-shaped swirl of cream to each of the four plates (this helps stop the shortcake sliding around) and sit a shortcake on top. Spoon on a generous spoonful of cream and heap with a few raspberries, then sprinkle a little caster sugar over. Apply another small spoonful of cream and place another shortcake on it. Repeat with more cream, a few more raspberries and another little blob of cream, then place the last shortcake on top and add a dusting of icing sugar. Repeat this process to make four shortcake stacks. (If your raspberries aren’t quite sweet enough, layer the shortcakes with a mix of half cream and half custard instead of all cream, adding a touch of vanilla extract and lemon juice to taste.)

To make the breadcrumbs for this recipe, chop up 70g (3oz) bread (to include crusts) and spread on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 oven for 30 minutes or until lightly toasted, then process to crumbs in a food processor.