Shortbread Tart

May 20, 2007

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Here’s a dessert pastry, made with pretty much the same techniques we’ve been using all week. DON’T TELL TIM, but this one has twelve tablespoons of butter. It takes so little time you can stir it up at the last minute. It’s better, though—richer, denser—if you let it sit in the fridge overnight. The bitter-orange marmalade is a wonderful foil for the butter, honey, and flour. Plus, here’s your chance to whip crème fraîche. If you have Herculean muscles, do it with a hand whisk. Otherwise, use the balloon whisk on your mixer. You might never go back to regular whipped cream. Sam

PS Switch out the marmalade for jams matched to fresh fruit: peach jam with Georgia peaches, raspberry jam with spring raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, whatever’s in season. But you’ll still need the crème fraîche.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, cold (1 1/2 sticks)
1 tbsp honey
8 ounces bitter orange marmalade
1 tbsp toasted, coarsely ground hazelnuts or almonds
Crème fraîche for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. Cut the butter into 1/4-inch cubes and sprinkle over the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until mixture is pale yellow and forms very fine crumbs, 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and drizzle honey evenly over the surface. Beat again until dough forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Set aside 1/2 cup of dough.

With floured knuckles, press the remaining dough into a 10- by 1-inch, fluted tart pan with a removable rim. Spread the marmalade evenly across the bottom. Sprinkle with ground nuts and crumble the reserved pastry across the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 or 15 minutes before removing the rim. Serve topped with whipped or regular crème fraîche or drizzle with heavy cream.
Makes 6 servings.

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