HUNGARIAN SHORTBREAD ON A COLD DAY

hungarianshortbread

On cold winter days, I love a slice of shortbread with a steaming cup of tea! Since I find myself on just such a day, I decided to tackle Julia’s shortbread.

In the introduction to this recipe, Julia points out that the “hallmark of a great shortbread is its buttery flavor and sandy texture.” My challenge was to create a lovely rich shortbread that was gluten free. For this recipe, I opened a jar of blueberry jam (recipe below) I made over the summer, but any store bought jam of your choice would work well. I also had some of King Arthur Flour’s “Fioria di Siclia” left over from my Christmas Panettone Bread, which gave the shortbread a lovely citrus and almond flavor.

Blueberry Jam (small batch)

  • 4 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice

Lightly mash the blueberries and then mix with the sugar, and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly over medium-low heat until thickened, about 20-30 minutes.

The Shortbread (makes 12 slices)

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. Fiori di Sicilia (or almond extract)
  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup jam

Method of Preparation:

Sift the dry ingredients into a medium size bowl and set aside. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. With the machine on low, add the extract and then the dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are just incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a parchment paper. Cut the dough in half and form into a ball. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and freeze for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Very lightly butter or grease a 9′ cake pan with removable bottom. Take one of the balls of dough and using a large box grater, grate it evenly into the bottom of the pan. Lightly pat the dough into the corners of the pan. Spread the blueberry jam over the top of the dough. Grate the remaining ball of dough over the jam and lightly smooth. Bake the shortbread for 30-40 minutes until lightly brown.

Cool the shortbread on a rack. Dust the top heavily with confectioner’s sugar, remove sides of the pan and cut into wedges.

Best served the day, but this shortbread will keep 2-3 days (not in my house).

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