Apricot polenta shortbread

Apricot polenta shortbread

How to Cook Cakes
12 squares or 9 bars
Peter Cassidy

This shortbread owes its light, crumbly texture to the addition of polenta. It is usually served at room temperature for tea, but is also lovely warm, with whipped cream or ice cream. The fruit and jam could be swapped for figs, raspberries or even dates. Or you could use Nutella as a filling and add chocolate chips to the dough. You will need a 30 x 20cm shallow baking tin.


Quantity Ingredient
200g dried apricots
275g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
150g fine polenta
225g butter, softened
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340g apricot jam


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Line the baking tin with baking parchment. Using a large knife, finely chop the dried apricots and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and polenta, ensuring that there are no lumps. Pour in any polenta that doesn’t go through the sieve.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, using an electric whisk.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly with a fork to loosen, then add to the sugar and butter a little at a time, beating well after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed or using a wooden spoon, until the mixture has just come together into large lumps, and there are no pockets of flour.
  6. Press two thirds of the shortbread dough into the prepared tin, then use a floured wooden spoon to make the surface as even as possible.
  7. Spread the jam evenly over the dough, then sprinkle the chopped apricots over the surface.
  8. Break off small pieces from the remaining dough and distribute them randomly over the surface.
  9. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes until the surface is golden brown and the dough is cooked through. Leave the shortbread to cool in the tin before cutting into squares or bars.


  • If the heat of the oven results in some singed pieces of apricot protruding from the cake, wait for the shortbread to cool a little before picking out the offending pieces.
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