Tuesdays With Dorie: Hungarian Shortbread

Being half-Hungarian, I knew I had to at least attempt this week’s recipe.  My father fled Hungary during the revolution of 1956, swimming across Lake Neusiedl and spending 2 years in an Austrian refugee camp before finally being able to come to the U.S.  One of my proudest baking moments was serving him a surprise batch of palacsinták (Hungarian crepes) and having him recognize what they were.

As I’m discovering with quite a few of the Baking with Julia recipes, these little babies contain an entire pound of butter.  But don’t let that deter you.  You’ll work every last one of those calories off when you grate the frozen dough.  By hand.

Yes, you read that right.  According to Dorie’s notes:  “There’s little that’s simpler.”  Dorie, you are no longer my friend.

I figured I’d use the time spent grating to try and work out  a scene I was in the middle of writing.  I always find the best ideas happen while your hands are busy and your mind’s free to wander.  Unfortunately, while grating away, the only thing my mind was thinking was “Crap.  I’ve got to do this with the other round of dough, too.”  That was followed by “Crap.  I can’t feel my pinky finger anymore.”  While thawing my hand under some warm water, I baked the first half of the shortbread for about 15 minutes.  (A big thank you to whoever made that suggestion on the TWD chat board.  The bottom layer would have been way undercooked had I not made this adjustment.)

The rhubarb jam wasn’t nearly such an ordeal.  I once again thanked God (or Martha Stewart) for convincing me to buy an angled spatula.  It made it much easier to spread the jam without massacring the partially-cooked, still gooey bottom layer of shortbread.  This small victory spurred me on for the 2nd round of grating.

Everything was then popped it in the oven for another 40 minutes and I rewarded myself with another few chapters of Under the Dome (which I’ve been unable to put down since I started it.)  As the situation started smelling worse for the poor trapped residents of  Chester’s Mill, my  house started to smell amazing.

The final verdict?  These are good.  Really good.  As in I-immediately-invited-over-a-friend-to-please-take-some-home-with-her-so-I-don’t-eat-them-all good.  They’re tart and sweet and cakey and crumbly all at the same time. I’d happily make them again.  Grating and all.  Dorie, we are once again friends.

Thanks to Lynette at 1smallkitchen and Cher at  The Not So Exciting Adventures of  a Dabbler for hosting this week.  Check out their blogs to hear their baking experiences as well as for the recipe itself.


13 thoughts on “Tuesdays With Dorie: Hungarian Shortbread

  1. I have learned to trust Dorie. I just made 1/2 the recipe so the grating wasn’t quite such a work out! But the results were delicious. I host book club next week, I’m glad I have occasion to make them again!
    Your photo is beautiful.

  2. Such a nice story about your dad! My grandmother came from Hungary in the early 1900’s. I was lucky enough to enjoy many of her wonderful baked goods and also her palascinta. Your shortbread looks quite delicious and very pretty!

  3. That is a fabulous photo of your plateful of shortbread! It was fun reading your post. I felt the same way when I was grating my dough. 🙂

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