Sometimes it’s the simple things that satisfy the most. A couple weeks back, I was doing some work for Kitchenaid and I needed to whip up 5 recipes, all simple enough to demo in a short amount of time. I had only a couple hours to prep but I still wanted the recipes to be delicious and attractive and really it’s hard to think of anything easier than shortbread. It is one of those wonderful recipes that relies on the easiest of ratios, simply 1-2-3, one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour, easy. All I’ve done differently is add lots of beautiful green pistachios (available here) and a little salt and lemon zest to boost the flavour. Whilst that would be tasty enough as it is I am prone to gilding the lilly, so to add a little extra luxury these humble biscuits were dipped in tempered chocolate, and trust me it is so well worth the effort, the prep kitchen was swarming with people who munched there way through these, which I took as a firm sign of approval.
Classically shortbread is made by rubbing cold butter into flour and sugar, almost like making pastry and that makes a fine biscuit but I make mine by beating the butter and sugar until fluffy then gently mixing in the flour, simply because this makes the biscuits a little lighter and I prefer the texture this way, but really it is up to you this recipe will happily work either way, the only thing I would say is don’t skip the salt with such simple ingredients a little bit of salt really helps to lift the flavour and it works wonders with the pistachios, lemon zest and chocolate.
Pistachio and Chocolate Shortbread
100g unrefined golden caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
275g plain flour
Large pinch flaked sea salt
75g pistachios, roughly chopped, plus extra for decoration
200g dark chocolate
To make the shortbread place the butter, sugar and lemon zest into a large bowl and using an electric mixer beat together for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down and add the flour, salt and pistachios, mixing together briefly until it comes together as a dough. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and bring together into a ball and divide into two equal pieces. Place each piece of dough between sheets of clingfilm or parchment paper and rollout into 1cm thick rectangles, about 10 inches long, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan) and line two baking trays with parchment paper. Cut the dough into 1-inch thick fingers and dock with a fork. Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully.
For the chocolate place into a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts until about three quarters of the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl and mix vigorously with a spatula until fully melted (this is a quick method of tempering the chocolate). Dip the shortbread halfway into the chocolate, allow the excess to drip off then set onto a clean sheet of parchment, decorating with a few extra chopped pistachios. Once the chocolate has set, devour! (If you really have to, the biscuits will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container.)