Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The GBBO Challenge - Biscuits; Lemon, Thyme and Salt Shortbread

I wasn't that keen on biscuit week - the recipes I mean, not the show.  I LOVED the show; I just wasn't that inspired by what I saw, baking wise.  I think biscotti are over rated, I really didn't fancy those in the technical challenge and I thought the boxes were fun but not that hard really... How many variations on a gingerbread are there?  I say that from my comfy sofa of course; I'm not the one fashioning a box from biscuit...

I was surprised that only one baker chose a savory biscuit so I thought I'd give one a go.  I've always loved the citrus/herb combo that one of the bakers used for his biscotti (orange and rosemary polenta cake is a favourite of mine).  I'd perhaps have entered these biccies into a showstopper somehow.  A sweet biscuit for the box, holding a salty, tangy biscuit in the middle, with a punch of lemon and softened by the thyme.  Maybe I'd have called it 'The Paul'.

And maybe if Marie had gone salty on her shortbread she'd have lived to see another day... just sayin' (I jest of course).

Anyway, for my second challenge, I give you the contents of my would be showstopper:

Lemon, Thyme and Salt Shortbread

  • 280g plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 1-2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 160g unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks, mixed with one large egg and 2 teaspoons water.
  • Fantastic quality sea salt/rock salt

1. In a large bowl, mix in the flour, salt, lemon zest and thyme, before rubbing the butter in with your fingertips to create a yellow, rocky, crumbly mix.

2. Make a well in the middle and add all of the egg mixture, reserving 1 tbsp for washing with later. Using your hands, bring the mixture together.  It may still be a little crumbly; if so, turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead briefly until it comes together.

3. Pat into a round about an inch thick, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle, trimming the sides and cut into fingers - mine were about 4inches by half an inch.  Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, brush with the remaining egg.

5. Sprinkle the fingers with a little salt on each (you may want to try the salt before - my hand-harvested salt is very strong, so I only needed a little), and bake at 180 degrees centigrade until the shortbread is golden.

6. Leave to cool on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

These lovely shortbread fingers are great served on their own with drinks, with hummus or other dips, or just as a snack.  Perhaps you could try cutting the dough into circles as a base for canapés - let me know your ideas.


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