Gin was Maria’s first love. Her university days had her experimenting with all sorts of spirits before finally settling on the G&T as her preferred drink. With the boom in craft gin she began branching out, trying new botanicals that mixed a variety of herbs until finally sipping on our wild berry-heavy Brockmans. It was then the Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and Fork-this blogger felt inspired to create millionaire’s shortbread … with Brockmans.
It was almost inevitable that Maria Sisci would become passionate about food. Raised in a Chinese-Italian family, she had the best of Asian and Italian cuisine before moving to the UK for her studies. Her choice to pursue formal training in cooking wasn’t because she wanted to work long, pressured hours in a restaurant, but because she wanted to perfect her skills in the kitchen. Her knowledge not only makes her restaurant reviews credible, but her ability to invent flavour combinations is hard to come by. From her sea bream doused in rhubarb and tarragon to her Parmesan saffron biscuits to now her gin & grapefruit millionaire’s shortbread, her inspiring simple recipes can be brought into any home.
Before attempting our Millionaire’s Shortbread, know there’s a method to this madness. The shortbread must be perfectly crunchy yet buttery, and the caramel just soft enough. The grapefruit is designed to cut through the richness, while the gin gives a kick at the very end. The chocolate must snap, and be just bitter enough to balance the zing of the candied grapefruit. For those of you ready to give this beloved Scottish treat a try, you won’t disappoint at summer late-night BBQs…
By Maria Sisci
Zest of 1/3 grapefruit (roughly)
175g butter, cubed
4 tbsp golden syrup
400g tin sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp Brockmans gin
200g dark chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 160C and line a 30 x 20cm tin with parchment paper that comes up over the edges of the tin.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar and zest. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles ground almonds. Press into the tin – as evenly as possible. Prick with a fork and bake for about 35 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool completely.
Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy-based pan and then stir in the golden syrup and condensed milk. Turn the heat up slightly and bring it to a simmer. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes, keep it simmering, until it turns slightly brown and it comes away from the pan slightly. Remove from heat and stir in Brockmans gin. Leave to cool slightly, just a few minutes.
Pour over this evenly over the cooled shortbread. Leave to set — about 30 minutes.
Peel the grapefruit, and remove the white pith of the peel. Thinly slice the zest. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the zest. Simmer for three minutes, drain and repeat once more.
Bring 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to the boil. When the sugar has completely dissolved, add the zest and turn down the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and leave to dry on baking paper.
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour over the caramel and tilt the tin so that it spreads evenly. Leave to set, and top with candied grapefruit just when the chocolate is almost set (so the grapefruit still sticks but doesn’t sink). Once completely set, lift the whole thing out of the tin using the paper and cut into little bite-size squares.