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(Almost) instant dessert

Posted by Sheryl Julian  June 2, 2009 03:28 PM

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Last Sunday, I needed to retest the pastry for the chocolate pine nut tart in tomorrow's paper, but I didn't want to make the entire tart (yet again). The pastry is made in a bowl with a wooden spoon and couldn't be easier. When it's time to make the tart, you press it into the pan.

So I decided to turn the pastry into shortbread. I pressed the pastry into the tart pan but did not go up the sides. Then I dredged it with sugar, scored it, and pricked the dough well. The little squares are just sweet enough to be a fine accompaniment to fresh berries.

Here are shortbread details:
Make the pastry as directed here. Press it into the bottom of a buttered 9-inch fluted French tart pan with removable base. Dredge it generously with granulated sugar.

Use a long chef's knife to make horizontal and vertical cuts in the pastry about 1 1/2-inches apart. (When you score the pastry, press down with the knife, but do not pull it along the pastry; the best way is to score half the round, then rotate it and finish scoring.)

Set the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the pastry in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Set the pan on a small bowl so the rim falls away. Transfer the pastry (still on the bottom round) to a cutting board. Recut the pastry where you scored it initially. Set the pieces on a wire rack to cool.

Honestly, I could have baked a batch in the time it's taken me to explain this!

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Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.
 

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