Petticoat Tails area Scottish biscuit dating from the twelfth century. They were mentioned by Sir Walter Scott in his novel
The Bride of Lammermoor and are still popular in Scotland today. The biscuits are, as the name implies, baked in the shape of a petticoat flounce. Rice flour is often used as part of the flour mixture and caraway seeds may also be added.
4 oz. plus
1 teaspoon butter
8 oz. flour
2 oz. plus
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat the oven to moderate 350 F (Gas Mark 4, 180CC). With the teaspoon of butter lightly grease a medium-sized baking sheet.
Sift the flour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the remaining butter and cut it into small pieces with a table knife.
Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Mix in the 2 ounces of sugar and the milk. Mix and knead the ingredients lightly until they form a soft dough. Add more milk if the dough is too dry. Knead the dough well until it is smooth, then roll it into a ball.
On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough into a circle approximately 10-inches in diameter. Lift the dough on the rolling pin and put it on to the prepared baking sheet. With a 3-inch round pastry cutter, cut a circle out of the centre of the dough. Place the dough circle on one side of the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut the remaining dough into 10 equal parts, cutting in a straight line towards the centre so that you have 10 petticoat-shaped pieces. Separate the pieces of dough slightly. With the prongs of a fork, make a decorative edge around the wide end of the pieces.
Dust the top of the dough with the remaining sugar.
Place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven and bake the petticoat tails for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using a palette knife or spatula, transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool before serving.
Place the biscuit circle on a plate and arrange the petticoat-shaped pieces around it.