In my quest for meringue perfection I have needed to devise more ways with egg YOLKS. Shrivelling up in the fridge is not an option. And Whitebait fritters are like eating liquid gold in the best of seasons. So I bless Ray McVinnie’s chef hat for printing this shortbread recipe in The Sunday Magazine. I followed his instructions. Mostly. I used organic spelt flour because it was in the cupboard and I omitted 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary finely chopped. Why would you?
150g icing sugar
225 grams butter
Zest of one Hawke’s Bay lemon
3 egg yolks
2 cups spelt or normal flour
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
Beat icing sugar, butter and zest until pale and fluffy. I did this with a wooden spoon over a basin of hot water to soften the butter initially.
Beat in egg yolks. I know, my fresh from the hen’s bum eggs are the colour or oranges that's just what a healthy free range diet with exercise does for you.
Stir in flour (don’t beat or your shortbread won’t be crisp warned RMcV).
Knead ever so briefly on a clean surface. Form dough into log shape and cut into 1cm slices.
Slide onto floured baking tray (I did push my dough around a bit here to get them the same size. In furture I would be more zealous with the log making to prevent extra handling).
Cook for 15 minutes, or til they are just starting to brown. Cool to a crisp crunch on a biscuit tray. Will store for a week
My shortbread were crunchy, slightly lemony, a bit too spread-y and not exactly Hottest-Home-Sugar-Munching-Baker material. Although, crumbled under my favourite Lemon Curd with a dollop of whipped cream watching Dante’s Peak on the telly last night, I imagined them on the menu of some sweating chef on My-Kitchen-Mules.
More to the point, my shortbread was not a mark on my great grandmother Maxwell’s pale, dense buttery morsels. Maxwell, Mackie –for short, had long white hair down to her bottom, which she pinned into the shape of a currant bun every morning. She lived in a three storied house on Napier Hill with Gandie my great grandfather. At tea time a wooden trolley laden with scones, shortbread, russian fudge and tea in a silver pot was wheeled down the hall to the living room. Mackie lived til 100 and to this day I contest she made the best shortbread on the planet. I suspect her recipe contained cornflour and no eggs.I will be calling her daughter, my Gran to try and extract her secret recipe soon. Happy Baking!