Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hungarian Shortbread Bars with Strawberry Lime Jam {For Tuesdays with Dorie}

I am thoroughly excited!!  This is my first post as part of the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group.  We are baking our way through Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  The book follows the PBS television series in which bakers join Julia Child in her kitchen to create some pretty darn fantastic pastries, breads, cakes, cookies and all manner of baked goods.  I've had the book for years and have only used it a few times, so I couldn't be happier about this new excuse to discover what's inside.  Yay!
I can remember my mom putting on PBS early Saturday mornings when I was a kid.  She'd watch gardening shows (boring...) and then it would transition into cooking shows.  I loved watching the likes of Julia Child, Martin Yan, Jaques Pepin, The Frugal Gourmet and that crazy cajun guy (what was his name?).  This was long before the days of 24 hour food TV, so I took what I could get.  But Julia was my favorite.  She was so much fun to watch and although she cooked fancy french food, her down to earth style really made it seem possible.  She's part of what got me hooked on cooking (and on watching cooking shows, thank goodness for the Food Network!).  I'm so looking forward to seeing what I can do with the recipes from this fabulous book.
As this was my first recipe as part of the group, I didn't want to change up the recipe too much.  The technique was a new one to me and I wanted to see how it would work.  Shortbread is supposed to be flaky and tender, so the method for these bars is to chill the dough and then grate it on a box grater to get a light and soft dough.  It was a bit time consuming, but completely worth it.  This was the most tender shortbread I have ever tasted.

My only trouble with the bars is that the bottom layer didn't seem to bake completely.  It was a common complaint among my fellow bakers, several of whom suggested pre-baking the bottom a bit to get it started before spreading on the jam and the top layer.  I confess, I was too impatient to try the pre-baking step.  But the bars tasted great, so I guess don't mind a slightly soggy bottom.
For the full recipe, check out the blogs from our hosts this week, 1 small kitchen and the not so exciting adventures of a dabbler....  My own contribution to this recipe was the strawberry lime jam I used instead of the rhubarb one given in the book.  I had just made the jam and decided it wasn't worth tracking down rhubarb (which I've never eaten).  And it was a good choice, the jam worked out beautifully.  For the photos and interpretations of the other Bakers with Julia, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie website.  They all look wonderful!

Strawberry Lime Jam
Adapted from Food In JarsMakes 1 pint.
For a printable version, click here.

1 quart of strawberries (about 4 cups chopped)
1 cup sugar
zest and juice from 2 limes

Put the chopped strawberries and sugar in a large bowl.  Cover and let macerate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 12.

Place the strawberries and all the accumulated juices into a medium sauce pot.  Add the lime zest and juice.  Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat so that the mixture is at a constant simmer.  Cook the berries until an instant read thermometer placed in the mixture reaches 220 degrees.  This will take about 20-25 minutes.   Pour into a pint jar, cover and let cool.  Refrigerate the jam for up to three weeks.


  1. Ooh, strawberry lime sounds wonderful. Welcome to the group. :) Happy baking!

  2. Welcome! Looks really good. Strawberry lime sounds delicious. The tart is perfect with the very sweet shortbread.

  3. Looks lovely ... I baked the bottom layer for 15 minutes before I spread the jam and the rest of the dough .... !!!

  4. I never heard of strawberry-lime jam! Sounds delicious. You take beautiful photos.
    Welcome to the group!

  5. Ha ha ha Cathleen! I've never heard of strawberry lime either. But one of my favorite flavor combinations is sweet and tart so I just thought they would work well together. Plain old strawberry just seemed to boring to me!

    Thanks for the compliments, Ladies. So glad to be a part of the group.

  6. Welcome aboard. Your shortbread looks lovely & the strawberry lime jam sounds like a real treat.
    Thanks for baking along this week.

  7. That jam sounds fantastic and your photos are beautiful. Welcome to the group!