When I read through today’s recipe for the baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie, I immediately fell in love.
Although I don’t bake it very often, I do love shortbread. And the completely new-to-me technique of freezing and grating the dough was intriguing. I imagined a tender, fluffy cookie, yet somehow still sandy (the hallmark, of course, of really good shortbread).
Indeed, this recipe should be called “Hungarian Shortbread Cake,” or maybe “Hungarian Shortbread Cookie Bars” — more substantial than traditional shortbread, this party-worthy confection has double-stacked layers of soft and sandy-chewy shortbread sandwiched with tart jam.
Being a salty-over-sweet kind of girl, I’m a try-it-once-and-move-on baker. But this recipe is a keeper.
The full recipe fills an entire 9″ x 12″ pan — way too dangerous, in both directions: if I didn’t like it, I’d be annoyed about the wasted ingredients; if I did like it, well, salty vs. sweet be damned … too many squares would find their way into my belly.
The recipe cuts cleanly in half — no funky math — and I pulled out my 7″ x 7″ square cake ring. A springform pan would work really well, too. (And actually there’s nothing wrong with a regular, four-sided cake pan, except for that first mangled piece. I do like using rings, though: less surface for things to stick to, no hold-your-breath inversions, less surface area to clean up (if you bake on parchment paper or a silpat mat). Cake rings are the lazy person’s shortcut to a refined presentation.)
The cookie layers are somewhat thick, so, worried that the shortbread wouldn’t bake all the way through in their double-layered state, I blind baked the bottom layer for 15 minutes (photo above, before baking), then added the jam, followed by the top layer of shortbread, and baked the whole kit and caboodle for 35 minutes.
Like a dolt, I forgot to photograph the jam layer — it was so pretty, too! [pout]
The recipe calls for a homemade rhubarb jam — we’ve got rhubarb coming out of our ears in Cincinnati, but, I really wanted to use (and use up) the blood orange marmalade I made earlier this year. I concluded the tart citrus would be an equitable swap for the tart rhubarb.
And it was really, really good. Big thumbs-up on any kind of citrusy jam or marmalade for this recipe.