Every summer during the British rule in India, the wives and families of the Raj escaped the searing heat of Calcutta for the hill stations in the north. These stations were known for their cooler climates and their tea plantations.
Dr. Margaret MacMillan, OC, a renowned historian and Warden of St. Anthony College, Oxford University, wrote a lively book, Women of the Raj, based on the history of her family during the sunset years of the Raj.
Dr. MacMillan’s family summered in Simla, and in the course of her narrative, she recounts an afternoon tea menu which included curried cream puffs. As cream puffs are somewhat complex and fussy to prepare, the executive chef of Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas in Toronto developed the Simla Hill Station shortbread inspired by the MacMillan family afternoon tea menu.
Enjoy this seductive shortbread with your simply splendid Victorian afternoon tea.
It is also appropriate served with a Pimm’s, wine, in fact these shortbreads are an excellent accompaniment for the beverage of your choice.
170 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
60 grams fine icing sugar
215 grams flour
2 tablespoons Madras Curry Paste (hot paste, rather than mild). Curry paste gives these shortbreads a far more pleasing taste and texture than does curry powder.
With electric mixer, beat butter until creamy, beat in curry paste and sugar, a little at a time; continue beating until the mixture is smooth. Add and mix in half the flour; add the rest of the flour and mix well. With you hands, work the dough into a ball. Rollout half of dough on a board, liberally sprinkled with flour, to a thickness of approximately a quarter inch; cut dough into desired shapes. Bake in oven, pre-heated at 300 degrees until biscuits are slightly firm. Cool thoroughly. Depending on he shapes of your biscuits, the yield could be from 12 to 24 biscuits.