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24 September 2014
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Shrewsbury Biscuits
Love biscuits..............Have a go at this recipe!

Love biscuits..............Have a go at this recipe!

This recipe was adapted from Mr Palin's recipe in 1819. The original was very hard indeed so this is a softer version. Mr Palin of Shrewsbury was renowned for his particular mix of Shrewsbury biscuits.
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FACTS
Mr Palin's name is still to be seen above the door of his shop which was opposite the entrance to Shrewsbury Castle.

It says "This shop occupies the site of a building where Palin first made the unique Shrewsbury cakes to his original recipe in the year 1760

"Oh! Palin, Prince of Cake Compounders, The mouth liquefies at they very name!"
Ingoldsby Legends.
Shrewsbury Cakes or Biscuits
8oz plain flour
1 level tsp. baking powder
4ozs caster sugar
4ozs butter or margarine
(hard sort like Echo or Stork)
Half tsp. caraway seed
Quarter tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. rose water
1 Egg
Instructions
1. Mix the dry ingredients and rub the fat in.
2. Mix the egg with the rose water.
3. Add to dry ingredients to make soft dough.
4. Roll out on a floured board.
5. Shape into a long roll about 12 x 12 inches.
6. Refrigerate until firm enough to slice thinly.
7. Cut in half, then quarters etc. (Makes 32).
8. Bake on a greased tray 370F/190C/Gas No5.
9. Bake well apart on a greased tray for 10 mins.

Here is an extract by Elizabeth Anderton from "A Little Shropshire Gift Book", published in 1978 by Westmid Supplies, Mytton House, Coton Hill.

Sign marks the site of Mr Palin's original shop in Shrewsbury
"Mr Palin, prince of cake compounders
The mouth liquifies at thy very name!"

"This fulsome praise, given in one of The Ingoldsby Legends, is for Mr Palin of Shrewsbury, renowned for his particular mix of Shrewsbury cake or biscuits.

These used to be bought by visitors in much the same way as shortbread in Scotland or clotted cream in Devon.

Recipes vary considerably but all contain spices and rosewater which is the ingredient that gives the distinctive flavour to Turkish Delight.

Different instructions specify the use of nutmeg, caraway, cinnamon; many add "sack" or sherry.

Here is one old recipe that I tried; it was possibly a little too sweet for modern tastes.
1lb each plain flour, fine sugar, 3 beaten eggs, caraway seed and nutmeg, 3 spoonfuls each of rosewater and sherry.

Mix altogether, roll out, cut into shapes, prick all over, bake in a moderate oven (I used 300F for just under 30 minutes.

The addition of butter and the reduction of sugar gives a result more like a shortbread as in this version, from A New System of Domestic Cookery by A Lady, 1819:

Shrewsbury Cakes
Sift one pound of sugar, some pounded cinnamon, and a nutmeg grated, into three pounds of flour, the finest sort; add a little rosewater to three eggs well beaten, and mix these with the flour etc.

Then pour into it as much butter melted as will make it a good thickness to roll out. Mould it well and roll it thin and cut it into such shapes as you like
."S
 
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