25 November 2012

Golden Kamut Shortbread





I've had an unopened bag of kamut flour in my pantry for a month or two now. I  bought it in earnest after my purchase of Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain cookbook and intended to use it up in all sorts of sweet goodness recipes. But every time I looked at the bag of flour, got an idea and consulted the book I would realize I didn't have something on hand mandatory for the recipe. Like creme fraiche and buttermilk and good cheddar all simultaneously. So no on the kamut biscuits. And in general, I don't carry yeast, so I was not attempting challah. For a few weeks I felt like Kim was just not on my spectrum right now. A bit too complex for the set of ingredients I am realistically able to keep on hand at the moment. But she sparked ideas, and if you haven't tried the barley flour scones from her book I made a few months ago, I suggest you do. I have a note to try them again with another berry jam.


But on to Kamut... Having this flour on hand led to some googling and stumbling and I came upon a seriously simple recipe from Alice Medrich. It's a nutty shortbread with a light crumb, not too heavy and buttery whatsoever. Kamut flour itself is delicate, buttery and rich with a wonderfully golden hue and different in a good way, in that for a flour, it actually tastes a bit toasty and nutty. The bag says it's also a good source of protein. The first thing you'll notice when you bite into this shortbread recipe is the extra butteriness involved thanks to the Kamut. Don't get me wrong, there's a nice dose of butter in this pretty shortbread but not globs of it, and just enough to make you realize that kamut and butter are indeed an inevitable match. As a bonus, Kamut is found to be more tolerable to those with trouble digesting wheat.


But what I liked most about Alice Medrich's recipe is the fact that I considered it pretty can-do. No keeping butter cold, no rushing to cut out the biscuits before they get too warm, and here actually, the dough rests raw for a least two hours before being baked. It also can stay out at room temperature after the fact for at least a week... if it lasts. And in terms of technique, the butter is melted and half your work is done. The other steps are the kind of thing that could be done while talking to someone standing a few feet away so long as attention to measurement is paid. I'd like to make Alice's kamut pound cake next and spread on the  berry preserves my aunt gave me but first I'll have to stop pretending I don't need a hand mixer. A photo I stumbled upon in my hometown neighborhood over the holiday:





Golden Kamut Shortbread 

Note: I halved this recipe, used an 8 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, and adjusted baking time. About 30 minutes for the first round, 7 minutes on the second.

Ingredients

12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted and warm
5 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ tsp Sea Salt
¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
¾ Cup Kamut Flour
Larger grain Sugar, Flakey Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper for sprinkling



Method:



Grease a 9” square or 9 ½” round tart pan with a removable bottom

Method

In a bowl, combine melted butter with sugar, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Add the flours and mix until incorporated. Pat and spread the dough evenly in the pan.


Let rest for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (Do not refrigerate)

Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 300˚F.

Bake the shortbread for 40 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, leaving the oven on. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the shortbread with sugar, sea salt, and black pepper. Let the shortbread cool for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the shortbread from the pan. Using a thin sharp knife cut the shortbread into squares, rectangle, or wedges. Place the sliced shortbreads slightly apart on a parchment-line baking sheet, and put into the oven for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Shortbread will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.