Vegan Shortbread with Pistachio, Black Pepper & Lemon

This is a (very) belated post from episode #2 of The Great British Bakeoff – Biscuit Week.  I had never made shortbread before, let alone a vegan version, so did a fair amount of research before settling on this recipe.  Traditional shortbread relies on butter to give it its rich, melting, crumbly texture; some vegan recipes start by asking you to make a vegan ‘butter’ from scratch but I was looking for something far simpler so experimented with swapping the butter for coconut oil.  The final result was delicious and reminded me very much, in both flavour and texture, of greybeh – those gorgeous little middle eastern biscuits.


  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup plain white flour
  • 1/3 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup unsalted pistachios (hulled)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest.


  1. Preheat oven to Gas 2/ 300F/ 150C/ 130Fan.
  2. Grease and flour a 7″x7″ tin.
  3. Beat the oil and sugar in a large bowl until creamy.
  4. Sift in the flour then add all other ingredients (except lemon zest), beating slowly until just combined.
  5. Scoop the mix into the tin then press gently with fingertips until fairly even.
  6. Bake for around 30 mins.
  7. Remove from the oven and, while still in the tin, sprinkle with lemon zest and cut into diamond shapes.
  8. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes in the tin before removing each diamond shaped piece very gently and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Store in an airtight container (if they last that long).


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