Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Peach Shortbread Pastries

I love Shortbread in all its glorious forms! As a crisp cookie or smooth biscoff spread. But when you can get the best of both worlds, why settle for just one? Hence was born the mighty Shortbread Pastry! Crumbly, gooey, soft and delicious! I used Peaches to elevate this pastry, but you can use pretty much any fruit you like – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi or a combination of these! (Mental note to try a combo next time)

The key to a delicious tasting shortbread …the kind you get in the store….is using brown butter. What is brown butter you ask? And more importantly, where can I find this magical ingredient? Right in your own pantry is the simple and welcome answer! Brown butter is nothing more than browned butter! Keep reading to see how easy this recipe is, and I swear when you feed your friends and family these delectable squares of goodness, they will say “It’s just like you would get in a fancy bakery!”

1 cup regular sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 ¾ cups (plus 2 tbsp) cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp of Almond extract
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 -4 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (depends on how much fruit you really want)

1. Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once it starts to turn brown and smell nutty (this takes a few minutes, but don’t take your eyes off it or by the laws of nature, it will burn!) take it off the heat. Transfer to a container and set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).
2. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
In a separate bowl, start with your dry ingredients. Mix together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices.
3. Next, using a fork, blend the solidified brown butter, almond extract and egg into the flour mixture. You want the resulting dough to resemble coarse crumbs.
4. Taking 3/4th  of the crumbs, pat into the greased pan, firmly.
5. Next, arrange peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. People eat with their eyes first, so make it look pretty!!

6. Finally, evenly spread the remaining crumbs over the peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until top are slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges.

7. Let them cool completely in pan before cutting into squares and enjoying! Can be served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or even just a cup of steaming coffee!