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Tuesdays with Dorie: Hungarian shortbread

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was hosted by hosted by Lynette of 1smallkitchen and Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler.  I was intrigued to learn what “Hungarian Shortbread” (pp 327-328) was.  After making and eating it, however, I am still not quite sure of what makes it Hungarian, although it’s the type of Eastern European bar-type dessert we can easily find in our little corner of Poland in Toronto.

The technique for this shortbread is fairly simple but includes a step where you freeze the dough and then grate it into the pan in two stages, spreading some jam in between the two layers.  Sadly I was a bad Dorista this week and didn’t make my own jam (the recipe calls for rhubarb and it’s not quite in season yet here) – I am on a constant quest to use up odds and ends of jars in the fridge and found a wonderful “fruits of the forest” curd that I thought would be perfect – the tartness countered the sweet shortbread really well.

Once the shortbread comes out of the oven, you “liberally sprinkle it” with icing sugar whilst it’s still hot and then allow it to cool. This results in the icing sugar melting into the top of the shortbread and creating a creamy, almost custard-like topping. It’s odd for sure.  I was quite concerned when it had completely cooled and it was quite mushy – I was worried it wasn’t cooked. But it was, most definitely. Because, you know, I had to taste it, right? There and then.

Later on that day, I served these for dessert and they were perfect, they had firmed up a little more but there were most definitely distinct layers…

A crunchy bottom layer topped with the tart curd covered with another crunchy layer and a soft, melt-in-your-mouth topping – this was surprisingly delicious and addictive.

I took the rest to work on Monday morning and they were devoured (many of them before 8.30am!) by happy colleagues.  I’ll definitely be making these again – easy technique that would lend itself so well to all sort of flavour combinations in the middle. A winner!

Tuesdays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs except if we happen to be the host for the week (though you are lucky this week, the recipe is on Saveur.com), rather, we prefer if you purchase Baking with Julia for yourselves which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository. Go on, you know you want to. It’s a beautiful book.

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34 Responses to Tuesdays with Dorie: Hungarian shortbread

  1. Liz May 1, 2012 at 05:59 #

    I loved these, too, Mardi! There is rhubarb in my garden, but the stalks are teeny…I had to resort to frozen from the grocery store :)

  2. Ckay May 1, 2012 at 07:09 #

    They look great!
    Delicious recipe that I definitely will bake again.
    So many flavours possibilities.

  3. smarkies May 1, 2012 at 07:10 #

    Looks great! What wonderful pictures!

  4. Cher May 1, 2012 at 08:10 #

    I agree – the yellowish melted sugar layer was a little odd, but these were tasty :-) I used up preserves from last year’s canning – it is just too early for rhubarb here (and the stuff in the store looks suspicious)
    Lovely bars.

  5. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes May 1, 2012 at 08:40 #

    Wish I could start the day with one of these.! They look fantastic!

  6. baker in disguise May 1, 2012 at 08:41 #

    i skipped the part of sprinkling the sugar on top..
    “fruit of the forests” curd.. wow.. what all did it have in it???

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2012 at 16:35 #

      Oh I think the sugar on top really made it what it was supposed to be. The curd was a bunch of different red fruits.

  7. Mindy May 1, 2012 at 09:23 #

    These really look lovely. The method is certainly intriguing.

  8. Paula May 1, 2012 at 09:26 #

    I’ve never heard of making shortbread in this manner, especially grating the frozen dough into the pan in stages. No matter, however it was made, it certainly looks tasty!

  9. Alice May 1, 2012 at 11:03 #

    LOL!! :) I’m sure they appreciate your baking abilities!

  10. Anna May 1, 2012 at 12:39 #

    Lovely post and great looking shortbread!!

  11. Julia {The Roasted Root} May 1, 2012 at 12:56 #

    I’ve never seen a dessert quite like this before! I enjoy baking new recipes, so I’m excited to try it. I love the crunch on the bottom with the soft top part – looks texturally pleasing and what a sweet treat!

  12. Vicki @ WITK May 1, 2012 at 14:13 #

    These bars look so amazing! All of the recipes that come from that cookbook turn out wonderfully and your pics really show them off!

  13. Gretchen @ Provecho Peru May 1, 2012 at 14:27 #

    I certainly plan to make these again as well. Super yummy and simple! Great job!

  14. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen May 1, 2012 at 14:40 #

    This is the 3rd version of this shortbread I have seen today and wow have you all risen to the challenge – I love how each version is so totally different – you’ve really made it your own! Wonderful photos!

  15. Susie May 1, 2012 at 17:22 #

    Lucky co workers indeed! The shortbread looks yummy and the curd sounds like the perfect balance against the crust.

  16. Mary Hirsch May 1, 2012 at 23:38 #

    I liked this shortbread recipe also. No one has mentioned being alarmed when the top got all “gooey” until you just did. Finally. I dumped 1/2 of the confectioner’s sugar sack on the top of my shortbread (a little overkill) when I took it out of the oven (as directed in the book). Yes, it started to turn gooey and my kitchen turned “stressful”. I kept cutting little pieces and it tasted great so I decided just to go with it. Eventually I realized this was the point – to make a frosting. Unfortunately I ate 1/3 of the pan before I came to this conclusion. The rest, like you, was shared with others and is in the freezer for a birthday next week.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite May 13, 2012 at 16:32 #

      I was quite concerned reading the comments and that noone had said how odd it was the topping melted !!! I wish it was in the recipe that this WAS the point!

  17. Ferda May 2, 2012 at 08:48 #

    Your shortbread look great! I waited until mine cooled down to sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, because I didn’t want sugar to melt.. When you describe how the book’s way worked, it sounds like I should have followed the instructions..

  18. Lizzy (Good Things) May 3, 2012 at 08:19 #

    This sounds lovely. My family is Hungarian and this is not one my mother, an artisan baker, baked, but it sounds delicious nonetheless.

  19. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 3, 2012 at 11:18 #

    I love shortbread, and this version looks phenomenal. I’ll definitely have to make these sometime soon!

  20. LisaF May 3, 2012 at 14:27 #

    Would you please post what size pan you made this in (or maybe you did and I missed that!)

  21. kat May 5, 2012 at 21:54 #

    I love shortbread cookies and these just look so lovely!

  22. Erin @ Making Memories May 18, 2012 at 17:54 #

    Your shortbread looks absolutely delicious!

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