mystery novels · recipes

#Mystery, #romance, and a delicious French-Scottish #recipe for Petticoat Tails

Today sees the release of my romantic suspense collection, A Year of Light and Shadows. Hooray! And it’s an excuse to show my lovely cover again here (I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it :) )

helena fairfax, romantic suspense

On the release of Palace of Deception (Book One in the Year of Light and Shadows collection) I posted the recipe for cooking the perfect steak, as this is my hero Leon’s favourite meal. Since A Year of Light and Shadows combines both Mediterranean- and Scottish-set stories, I thought it would be really nice to make something that’s a fusion of the south of France and Scottish cuisine to celebrate.

I hit on the perfect recipe, and it’s a recipe for something I absolutely love – Petticoat Tails. Petticoat Tails are a type of shortbread, and shortbread is a typical Scottish biscuit. The French influence comes because it’s said Mary Queen of Scots was very fond of “petites gatelles,” or “little cakes,” and the name Petticoat Tails is supposed to come from this.

I think that’s a lovely story, and the shortbread is so delicious I can never just eat one.

Here is the recipe:

115gsm (half a cup) butter (taken out of fridge and warmed at room temperature for a couple of hours)

55gsm (3 cups) caster sugar / superfine sugar

130gsm (1 1/3 cups) plain flour / all-purpose flour

40gsm (1/4 cup) rice flour (ground rice or very fine semolina will also do)

Large pinch salt

helena fairfax, romance, mystery, scottish recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 150 C / 330 F / gas mark 2
  2. Beat together the butter, sugar and salt until they are light and fluffy
  3. Sift together the plain flour and rice flour and mix in with the beaten ingredients to form a dough. (Add more butter if it’s too crumbly.)
  4. Pat the dough or lightly roll it into a circle shape, approximately 1cm thick (3/4 inch). Crimp the edges, score the top diagonally into eight pizza type slices, and prick all over with a fork.
  5. Place on a baking tray that’s been lined with greaseproof paper.
  6. Chill in the fridge for 15 mins
  7. Bake for around an hour until cooked through but not brown.
  8. Sprinkle with sugar and place on a wire rack to cool.

* * *

There – simple yet delicious! I think this is my favourite biscuit ever  – and we have a LOT of different types of biscuit here in the UK :) And a cup of tea and a piece of shortbread is the perfect accompaniment to a book!

Here is the blurb to A Year of Light and Shadows:

Book One: Palace of Deception
From the heat of the Mediterranean….
When the Princess of Montverrier goes missing, Lizzie Smith takes on the acting job of her life. Alone and surrounded by intrigue in the Royal Palace, she relies on her quiet bodyguard, Léon. But who is he really protecting? Lizzie…or the Princess?

Book Two: The Scottish Diamond
To the heart of Scotland…
Home in Scotland, Lizzie begins rehearsals for Macbeth and finds danger stalking her through the streets of Edinburgh. She turns to her former bodyguard, Léon, for help…and discovers a secret he’d do anything not to reveal.

Epilogue: A Question by Torchlight (A Short Story)
A story of mystery and romance…
The approach of Hogmanay in Edinburgh means a new year and new resolutions. Lizzie and Léon have put their year of danger behind them. But something is still troubling Léon, and Lizzie fears the worst…

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Kobo / Apple / B&N: Universal buy link for other stores

* * *

Have you ever made shortbread? And did you use this recipe? And do you think the legend about Mary Queen of Scots’ favourite biscuits is true?

If you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you! 



11 thoughts on “#Mystery, #romance, and a delicious French-Scottish #recipe for Petticoat Tails

      1. Ahh, that’s what the measurement was. I’m used to just seeing “g” for grams. I bet you got the recipe right. I’ll let you know if it works for me. Always on the lookout for new recipes, especially during the holiday season. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Congrats on the release of your collection of romantic stories! You are a great storyteller! No I have never made shortbread. The recipe does sound simple (thanks for putting in both measurement versions) and delicious. Best wishes.


    1. Thanks, JQ! The recipe is simple but one of those that can easily go wrong. I think the secret is not to work the dough too much, and also to have the butter at room temperature. I hope I’ve worked out the US measurements correctly. Please do let me know if you try it.
      Have a great weekend!


  2. Well done on your lovely new release, Helena! That sounds like a good recipe for shortbread although I’ve never seen one with rice flour. It’s years since I made any as I don’t really eat it these days but I do like the idea of this version!


    1. Thanks very much, Rosemary. I did wonder about the rice flour, too, but I’ve seen a couple of recipes that include it, and one that said it added a little bit of crunch. I’m definitely going to give it a try.
      Thanks very much for dropping in!


  3. Congratulations on your new release, Helena~~wishing you many sales! I just bought it and look forward to reading it soon. As for the shortbread recipe, I shall surprise my son’s British girlfriend with a batch when she arrives for a visit in January, so she feels at home. Won’t she be surprised! :)


    1. Hi Gemma, thanks so much for downloading A Year of Light and Shadows. I do hope you enjoy it!
      I do hope the recipe turns out OK for you, too. I have had to convert into cups from our British grams. I hope I did the conversion OK. If you try it, please come back and let me know how it turned out.
      I’m sure your son’s girlfriend will have a lovely warm welcome. What a thoughtful surprise! Thanks for dropping in!


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