Friday, August 14, 2009

Julia Child's Hungarian Shortbread

Julia Child is seriously everywhere right now. I've been debating whether to even write about Julie & Julia or the fact that Mastering The Art of French Cooking is currently the #2 seller on Amazon, since everyone else is writing about that too. I will say that I ended up seeing Julia & Julie twice (once with this amazing group of food bloggers) and loved every minute of it (but especially when they showed Julie's husband working at Archaeology Magazine - made me miss all my awesome co-workers at the AIA).

So in honor of what would have been Julia Child's 97th birthday tomorrow, I decided to try one of her recipes. I've had her Hungarian Shortbread before, as part of the prix fixe brunch at Gaslight (they also sell slices a la carte) and loved the buttery, crumbly texture. That wonderful texture comes from freezing and then grating the dough - it's a bit of a pain in the ass, but the results are so delicious that I would do it again. Other than that, this recipe is really easy and makes about a million bars (you can, of course, cut to whatever size you want, but they're so rich that small pieces don't feel stingy).

Julia Child's Hungarian Shortbread

4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
2 cups jam (whatever flavor you want - I used homemade ginger nectarine butter)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and sugar and beat until well combined. Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until the dough just begins to come together. Form dough into a ball and cut in half. Wrap each half in plastic or wax paper and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove one piece of dough from the freezer and grate into a 9x12" pan (use the large holes on the grater). Pat the dough down evenly. Spread the jam over the dough, then grate the other piece of dough over that. Pat the top down lightly (don't compact it too much). Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately dust with confectioners' sugar (the sugar will get soaked in a bit). Cool completely before cutting.


Delicious Dishings said...

Ooh... I haven't see this one. It sounds really tasty! Julia is so worth talking about... even if everyone is already talking about her. I had the same dilemma over whether to write anything about her.

adele said...

I've never heard of Hungarian shortbread before - it sounds delicious, though.

I've been waffling over a Julia post, too. But then I'd have to confess that while I wrote about it in my thesis, I've never actually cooked anything from my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. *ashamed*

Unknown said...

at sure sounds fabulous!

Mary said...

Love Julia too,and will try this one. I've got a new locavore blog, come take the 2 second quiz!

Nancy Little said...

that sounds heavenly... with a nice hot cuppa earl gray... mmm...

franny said...

This is NOT Julia's recipe. It appeared in the book "Baking with Julia" which is a collections of recipes by master chef's based on the TV series. The recipe is credited to Gale Gand.

franny said...

This is NOT a Julia Childs' recipe.
It appeared in the book "Baking with Julia", a collection of recipes by master chefs, and based on the PBS television series. The recipe is credited to Gale Gand in the book.