So how long did you think that it would take for me to get back to baking?! After a couple of weeks of green smoothies, granola bars and hummus, my sweet tooth finally won out and I my oven came calling.
I’m back with a Julia Child classic that I found while on a trip to Boston several months ago. We had brunch at Gaslight Brasserie and they served the most amazing Hungarian Shortbread from Julia Child’s famous recipe and I have been dreaming of it ever since.
It was perfectly sweet with a buttery, crumbly texture and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head—even months later.
The recipe starts with Julia’s trademark “pound of butter” (all the best recipes do)!
The dough is a simple flour, butter, sugar, egg mixture but the key to the final product’s texture is the freezing and then grating of the dough.
After the dough is frozen (at least 30 minutes, but I left mine in overnight) you grate it on a box cheese grater into layers with the fruit filling. Get ready for a work-out. Grating the frozen dough is not easy!
For the fruit filling Julia’s recipe calls a homemade rhubarb jam, which I had every intention of making, BUT I couldn’t find fresh rhubarb anywhere (Whole Foods, Kroger and Publix looked at me like I was crazy). I’ve come to find out that not only is it a strange thing for them to carry anyway, it’s also completely out of season. I will be on the look out for it (late Srping) and make this again when I find it. I ended up straining a raspberry jam and using it instead (which tasted amazing).
It bakes to a golden color and then, as if the butter and sugar wasn’t enough, you dust with powdered sugar while it’s warm. Yes please.
This may be one of my favorite recipes of all time. Maybe because I LOVE shortbread or maybe because it reminds me so much of our trip to Boston, but all I know is that it is amazingly delicious—Julia Child does not disappoint. It is a wonderful dessert or great with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. LOVE.
Julia Child’s Hungarian Shortbread
1 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Place rhubarb, sugar& water in a saucepan. Split the Vanilla bean and scrape the soft seeds into the pan, (keep the pod for further use in another recipe). Bring to a simmer over low heat, cook stirring often until the rhubarb is soft. Cool the jam.
Whisk the flour, baking powder& salt together, set aside. In another bowl beat the butter until it is pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks& sugar and beat until until the sugar is disolved and you have a light mixture. With you mixer on low speed slowly add the flour mixture, mix ONLY until the ingredients are incorporated. Turn the dough out on you cutting board, cut in half and form each half into a ball, wrap each ball in plastic wrap. Freeze the dough for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F with rack in center of the oven. Remove one ball of dough from the freezer and grate the dough into a 9×12″ baking pan (use large hole side of your 4 sided grater). Pat the dough- don’t press it, so it gets evenly spread in the pan getting right into the corners too. Spread with the Rhubard jam (or jam, preserve of your choice). Grate the remaining ball of dough on top, pat gently so it is evenly spread. Bake for apprx 40 minutes or until it is golden.
As soon as you take the pan from the oven dust the shortbread with confectioner’s sugar and cool to room temperature on a rack. Cut into bars.