Monday, January 27, 2014

Nectarine, plum and brown butter shortbread bars and feeling lucky

Nectarine, plum and brown butter shortbread bars / Barrinhas amanteigadas de manteiga queimada, nectarina e ameixa

Amazon showers me with emails filled with cookbook offers every week, and since I’m a cookbook junkie it is hard to resist them, so I just take a quick look and delete them (most of the times). :) However, there was a cookbook on the email I received yesterday that made me smile, and then I immediately placed it in my cart – it was Jack Monroe’s cookbook.

I discovered her blog months ago and many tears later I became a fan. Despite being from a family that had a tight budget back in the day, we always had plenty of good food around, and I grew up eating all the fresh veggies and fruit I wanted – I can’t imagine what Jack and her son went through, not even close. It is great to see her now with a cookbook deal, writing for newspapers and such, and I wish her all the success in the world.

It is because of Jack and her lovely little boy that I felt like sharing this recipe with you today: these delicious bars were made with the fruit I had left from Christmas dinner – beautiful nectarines and plums that I was too stuffed to eat. I could afford to have more fruit than I would actually eat – that is just too great to be taken for granted.

I have food on my table every day, sometimes more than enough, and I feel very lucky for it.

Nectarine, plum and brown butter shortbread bars
slightly adapted from here

1 cup (226g/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 ½ cups (350g) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
2 juicy, ripe but slightly firm nectarines, pitted and thinly sliced*
2 juicy, ripe but slightly firm plums, pitted and thinly sliced

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. The melted butter will foam, then become clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Watch the butter carefully at the end, as it turns brown quickly. Transfer to a shallow, small container and cool to room temperature, then chill in the freezer until solid but not completely frozen, about 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 190°C/375°F. Lightly butter a 32.5x22.5cm (9x13in) baking pan, line it with foil and butter the foil as well.
In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 table knives, blend the solidified brown butter and the egg into the dry ingredients (I used the Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed). The brown butter mixture will be crumbly. Pat ¾ of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Arrange the nectarine and plum slices on top in a single layer. Crumble the remaining brown butter mixture evenly over the fruit.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut into squares.

* if your plums and nectarines are very large, you might need just one of each

Makes about 24 – I made the exact recipe above using a 20x30cm (12x8in) pan


Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

These bars look like a dream, I love brown butter with stone fruit!

Siv - A World in My Oven said...

I absolutely loved this recipe - I've made it twice already! You can totally taste the browned butter! The first time I was in a hurry and poured the hot browned butter into the dough, it works just as well ;) Thank you so much for sharing! :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hey, you! I'm so glad to hear the recipe worked for you! \0/ Thank YOU for letting me know that! And it's good to know that the butter can be poured into the other ingredients while still hot, that saves a lot of time!

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