I’m hibernating. But on a good day, I can do other stuff while hibernating (besides watching all ten episodes of Band of Brothers, or half a season of Musketeers from BBC One).
Yesterday I made an official Decadent Holiday Dessert. The process went a bit like this. First, I saw a FB post shared to a friend for “Cranberry Curd Tart” (it’s the NYT, ‘ware the paywall). Despite my tired eyes reading “curd + tart” as “turd”, I thought it was a pretty cool idea. I liked the muted fuchsia color most of all. But I don’t care for hazelnuts.
As I was thinking about this confection, I walked past the produce case at Grocery Outlet. Produce is not generally not the best thing to get a GO, although they’ve had a run of excellent avocados. Their cranberry offering was thoroughly picked over (three bags left, mostly pretty soft). But I figured I could experiment. I’ve been gradually figuring out cranberries over the last ten years or so, since I didn’t actually have cranberry sauce until I was an adult.
I boiled the cranberries in a cup or so of water with a desiccated lime I found on my countertop, and a tangerine that wasn’t desiccated yet, plus maybe 1/2 cup of sugar. When the berries were boiled to bits I pressed the whole mess through one of those canning strainers that looks like an aluminum dunce cap. Then I ignored it for an hour or so.
After a while I thought of short bread. While I was thinking of shortbread, I reboiled the pink syrup with a few more teaspoons of sugar, about 2/3 to 3/4 of a stick of butter and three egg yolks. I think there was too much water relative to butter and egg. I put a tablespoon full or so of the egg whites in too, but the creme never became a “curd”. It’s a rather sporty pepto bismol pink though. I put it aside to cool and made shortbread (while also trying to make pita bread for dinner, convincing my children to set the table, and several other things).
This is the recipe I used – Food Network Earl Grey Shortbread. When looking for recipes I usually just google and pick one from the first page of hits, based on how difficult it looks and what volume they are suggesting.
I used Earl Grey green tea, because that’s what I had, and ran it through a sifter because I didn’t feel like dealing with a food processor. The dough never really formed, probably due to a combination of cold butter and using a stand mixer instead of a processor. What I got instead was a pile of macerated crumble, which was fine. I pressed it into a dish with a big spoon and baked it for probably 2x as long as the recipe calls for.
The shortbread with the cranberry and a splat of plain yogurt is good. Using a small spoonful of mascarpone instead is amazing and decadent. I bet if I were to use that lurid green matcha powder instead of earl green, it would be even more festive.