Over the weekend, I heard from a reader who said that the Dutch Baby recipe on this site has taken him back to his childhood, and he was delighted to be able to make the treat for his own children. That recipe, of course, came from Santa Maria, and in the spirit spreading more joy, I asked her to write about the desserts she made on Friday.
I'd say that I'm the Jack Sprat of desserts, but I have been know to make one or two. And Santa Maria does far more than just bake and make chocolate sauce. She makes kale chips, and does homework with the kids. Here's her post:
I love treats, I love hanging out with my girls, and I love Stay at Stove Dad. After a very hectic work week, by Friday afternoon it was time to enjoy the lazier rhythms of summer vacation. The girls and I decided to bake Scotch Shortbread and make a fresh blackberry tart to welcome Stay at Stove Dad home and give him another use for a delicious but neglected container of crème fraiche that's been hanging around the fridge.
The shortbread recipe is quite similar to the pate sucree recipe in many of our cookbooks, so I decided to make one batch of shortbread, then use 2/3 of the dough to make thinner shortbread squares (I prefer them not too doughy, tender in the center, crispy on the outer edges); and then to use 1/3 of the recipe as the pate sucree for the tart (just needs the addition of half a beaten egg).
If this sounds complicated, it is NOT. It is VERY EASY!! If you’ve got the butter softened in advance, it will take you FIVE MINUTES. Really. Yum!! We had so much shortbread we took happy packages to two of our neighbors, Cyd and Ivy, and Ivan and Sandy.
It was good to hear from Jordan S. that he loved the Dutch Baby recipe and that it was a big hit with his family – and it inspired me to share some more recipes for my favorite treats.
Scotch Shortbread (Joy of Cooking)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- 1 cup butter (ie 2 sticks)- warm to room temperature, approx. 70 degrees, so it’s easy to cream but not melting
- 2 cups flour (I sift it directly over the creamed butter)
- ½ cup confectioners sugar (also sifted directly over the butter)
- ¼ teaspoon salt.
Blend the ingredients together then press into an ungreased 9x9 pan ***I used only two thirds of the batter for these.***
Prick the top with a fork (see picture). If the fork is lifting up the dough, dip it into cool water between pricks.
Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle, if you wish, with a tiny bit of powdered sugar.
Pate Sucree Tres Vite!
Take the remaining third of your shortbread dough and add ½ a beaten egg (I used a whole beaten egg and it was too much – made the pastry a little eggier than I wished). You can use the rest of the beaten egg in some fried rice or just cook it in a skillet for a quick protein hit which you probably need anyway if you’re a busy parent.
Press the dough into a tart pan. I used a small 8”diameter pan (it would be fine to have the pastry thinner as well, so you could use a slightly bigger pan). Gently press in fresh blackberries (or whatever summer fruit you have on hand – I imagine plums would be quite tasty), and bake in the oven (also at 325 degrees) for 45 minutes.
It was a minor tragedy that we did not have whipped cream on hand to serve with the blackberry tart. Perhaps you will plan more wisely!