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Rosemary Shortbreads with Tomato Jam, and some other random bakings

So I made this pie instead of going to a party and it was a profoundly healing experience and I’m being perfectly serious about that.  Sometimes rolling out pastry in a way that you’ve done twenty times before is a singular action of skill and satisfaction, and in the end I made beauty of perfectly ripe peaches (which should clue you in to how very old this picture is!  sometime in August, I imagine).  I made it as a genuine thank you to some lovely friends for lending me their backroom for which to sleep on for a few weeks I had no bed/roof for, and it turned out as well as a thank you could be hoped for (which is to say – buttery, decadent, fresh and in other words peachy).


See said friends cutting into it now?  Beautiful people who appreciate double rainbows and dumpster dive with the best of them (a brilliant way to procur almost-ideal and certainly thief-aura-d food, in the best way possible.. one time I found a crate of fresh figs that I turned into seed-spotted jam, like a milky way of confiture, with countless little popping tiny bombs of texture and possibility..)

fee!

I made these too – mango shortbread bars, and they are easy and profoundly delicious, oh man… I should see if I can link to a recipe, OH MY GOD I CAN!  Just do what Deb says, except replace the peaches with mango and replace the nutmeg with powdered ginger and you’ll be golden.  Oh, and remember to chill it really well before cutting it into picture-perfect slices!

What else?  Oh, I guess I poached these pears for a cook-off between a friend and I, a way to enjoy our foodie ways with some healthy competition and it ended with my making a red wine poached pear concoction with blue cheese souffle and candied walnuts (he made almond-crusted deep fried brie with raspberry coulis and olive oil toast, ai, yum! no losers here, only winners of munching!)

Then I made another batch of my most favourite kind of shortbread cookie, one studded with aromatic rosemary and crumbly from cornmeal, and squished in the middle is a peppery tomato jam.  And it’s not weird.  At all.  It’s more jawdroppingly gettinmahmouth, and they sell out in no time whenever I make them at the cafe.

I like to cut them in squares because mostly it’s easier to make them look uniform.

The jam is GREAT on burgers, too.

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies with Tomato Jam

From David Lebovitz’s book, Ready For Dessert

Cookies:

Yield: about 24 cookie sandwiches

  • 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) stone-ground yellow cornmeal or polenta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 10 tablespoons (135 g) sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed just until smooth. Mix in the egg yolks, then the rosemary. Add the flour mixture and mix until the dough is smooth and holds together.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a log about 6 inches (15 cm) long and 1 3/4 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1 hour.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Slice the logs into disks 1/4 inch (6 mm) inch thick and place the disks about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely.

Spread a scant 1 1/2 teaspoons of the jam on the underside of half of the cookies. Top the jam with a second cookie, bottom side down, to make sandwiches.

Storage:
The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. Once filled, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Tomato Jam:

Yield: 2 cups (600 grams)

  • 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) ripe tomatoes (about 5 large)
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) sugar
  • 2 or 3 grinds of black pepper
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Using a paring knife, cut out the stem end of each tomato, then slice a shallow X in the bottom.

Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water until their skins loosen, about 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and let cool. When cool enough to handle, slip off their skins. Discard the water, but save the saucepan for cooking the jam.

Halve the tomatoes at their equator and gently squeeze out the seeds and juice. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch (1.5-cm) pieces.

Return the tomatoes to the saucepan and stir in the sugar, pepper, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure that the mixture is cooking evenly, until most of the liquid has cooked off. If foam occasionally rises to the top, skim it off with a large spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Ladle the jam into clean jars. Cover tightly, let cool, and refrigerate.

Storage:
The jam will keep for at least 6 months in the refrigerator.

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