Friday, September 07, 2007


So, the fridge is full of David Herbert's shortbread dough. It's the "best ever" shortbread recipe that he used to publish in the newspaper part of the Weekend Australian, in column format, back before the paper got all special and built itself a glossy magazine section and gave him a nice shiny double-page spread on which to display his awesomeness.
I'm thinking about buying his new cookbook The Perfect Cookbook, but I might not, because a) I already have forty million cookbooks that I am now too edgy and busy to read, let alone cook from, and b) I already cut all his columns out of the newspaper from years ago, and they were probably the best ones.
And I have the shortbread recipe. Mum and I used to make this in the Past, and then I forgot all about shortbread for a few years. Recently she dug up her old wooden shortbread mould: it's a carved Scottish thistle with a scalloped little edge. I remembered all about shortbread then and I resolved to use David Herbert's old recipe and this old wooden mould, and make a double super batch of shortbread and distribute it far and wide.
He says you can add some grated lemon rind for flavour. I did, but now I wish I'd added a fair bit more. As the shortbread has been sitting in its tin for about four days, it's lost a bit of flavour and crispness (not much, but some) and now it really needs that lemon kick to lift it over the wall of unsalted butter and not enough sugar.
That's right David: I think it needs more sugar. And usually I remove some sugar from recipes. This one... I would go for just an extra 2 tablespoons. That would help with the flavour barrier and the crispiosity issue after a couple of days of storage.
As far as the old wooden mould went, it didn't. I chose the wrong time to shortbreadise. A warmish spring day, and the dough was less cool and firm than room-temperature and floppy. The mould went well in the downward moulding motion, but it all came unstuck after that. Even with flour all over everything. So, after a dummy spit, I made little hand-rolled balls of shortbread instead. They were great: tiny bite-sized polka dots of perfectly-round and melty indulgence. I made four trays full, and delivered half over to Mum's house for the taste test.
Meanwhile, the fridge is still full of half a kilo of shortbread dough waiting to be baked. I better bakeify as soon as possible!

No comments: