Hungarian Shortbread - Baking with Julia

 This week's recipe is really fun, and very good.  If you'd like to follow along with the recipe, this week's hosts are Lynette of 1smallkitchen, and Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler.  They've got the recipe posted on each of their blogs.  

The main ingredients for the shortbread are butter, flour, sugar, eggs & salt.   Nothing strange.   It's the way the ingredients are put together that makes this really unique and  fun.   After the ingredients are combined, the dough is divided into two portions, wrapped and frozen.   When the dough is really firm, it's grated with a box grater into the pan.  Topped with jam, then the second portion is grated onto the top.  The pan is baked until golden, then topped  while still very hot with powdered sugar.  The sugar immediately melts into an icing for the shortbread.    I was so amazed with the process that I forgot to get some action shots.  There's nothing really tricky about the assembly, so you'll be a-ok.  I bet some of the other bloggers have included some process photos.

I didn't make the rhubarb jam from scratch as suggested.  I had some fig jam that looked perfect for the filling.  It was sort of a Fig Newton vision.

The shortbread is the perfect tea party sweet.  Sweet, buttery, crumbly in a cute way, and no strong flavors to interfere with a lovely cup of tea.

Speaking of tea.  I'd like to share two of my favorite teas, and their corresponding tea bags.  I know that real tea drinkers steep loose tea, but these little charmers are so cute that you'll want to use a tea bag instead.  The first one is from Fauchon.   The shop is located on Place de la Madeleine, Paris and is a destination for food lovers everywhere.  The first things you'll notice is every vegetable artistically placed, and each jar and box presented like a gift.  A trip inside, and you'll be swept away.  I refer to their tea bags as "underpants tea bags"  They're made a sheer silky fabric that you can't believe someone used just to make a tea bag.  Inside, the perfectly cut tea leaves.  This one is arome du pomme, apple tea.  it sounds strange, but it was recommended to me to try on my first visit, and has been a favorite ever since.


The other tea bag is form  Mariage Frere,  a shop in the Marais, Paris.  The tea bags are made of muslin, and also very cute.  This is the tea salon to hit after a big day of sight-seeing or shopping in Paris.  The waiters are very handsome and dressed in cream-colored linen suits.  The retail area sells beautiful tea pots and exotic tea from all over the world.   Here's a tea bag with Sur le Nil, or On the Nile.  It's an infusion tea which is very fragrant and delicious without a lot of caffeine.  You can find both teas on online and sometimes in specialty shops here in the United States.

If you're heading to Paris and would like better directions and more tips and tricks,  you can visit my Notebook.   It's got addresses and more locations for food-related travel in Paris.

I hope you'll make the shortbread, wrap it in waxed paper, tie it with a ribbon, then share it with a friend or two.   Then, brew any kind of tea and spend some time savoring the sweetness of Spring.

p.s.  Just in case you'd like help on how to brew that perfect cup of tea, a found a nice article  from the Telegraph to help.  British of course!