Nectarine Shortbread

August 29, 2013

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I have been going to the farmers market a lot in the past week.  Yes, of course it’s partly because I know summer is ending and I’m just sad.  But also it’s because I waited too long this year.  Oh sure, I picked up some fruit here and there.  But I waited and waited for the best plums to come in, the sweetest peaches, the ripest pluots.  I just kept thinking that better ones will come in later in the summer and I should wait to buy them.  Well, later became July, then August, and here we are, literally days away from September, and what did I find out?  I waited too long, my friends.  Because the last time I went to the farmer’s market, I think I saw a pumpkin.  I looked away very quickly so I can’t confirm, but it was big and orange, and who am I kidding, it was a pumpkin.

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I panicked.  I would have to make up for a whole summer full of fruit in the week of summer that is left!  Well, friends, I did.  And my kitchen is full of all kinds of stone fruit!  And while I was at it, I picked up some berries.  And watermelon!  (And some tomatoes, corn and zucchini!)  A whole summer harvest is in my kitchen!

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Well, as you may know, fruit does go bad after a few days.  And as you may or may not know, I am unable to eat 7 pounds of fruit a day.  Solution?  Nectarine shortbread!

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Seriously, it’s actually brilliant because these keep!  Because it’s a cookie!  Stick them in the refrigerator and you’ll have summer goodness for a good 10 days!  Just learn to time things better than me.

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Nectarine Shortbread (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 cup (200 grams) white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (360 grams)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) browned butter, directions follow
1 large egg
4 nectarines, pitted and sliced about 1/4 inch thick

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small pot over medium-low heat.  The butter will first melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty, with little brown bits on the bottom.  Stir often, scraping the bottom of the pot.  The brown bits will indicate that the butter is browned.  Take it off the heat, pour it into a heat proof bowl, and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until chilled thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and cinnamon.  Whisk in the egg into the chilled butter.  Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and gently stir together with a rubber spatula until it comes together.  Remove 1/3 cup of the dough and reserve.  Press the rest of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly.  Line the nectarine slices in a single layer over the pressed dough.  Juice the 1/2 lemon over the nectarine slices.  Scatter remaining 1/3 cup crumbs evenly over nectarines and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

 

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