Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Splendid Shortbread Tart

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of The Splendid Table and Lynne Rossetto Kasper. The weekly podcast of The Splendid Table is my constant companion on my walks, and I've been known to cook meals for dinner that night I heard about on the show or stop at the liquor store on the way home to buy a recommended bottle or box of wine. Long before I knew about her radio show, my family and I loved her cookbook, The Italian Country Table. Many of Lynne's recipes are staples in the Wolff households, especially her chocolate torte. Lynne's most recent cookbook written with Sally Swift - How to Eat Supper - came out in the Spring and I've been dying to read it ever since. I'm not allowed to buy books*, so I was thrilled to spot it in my library's inventory last week.

I flipped through the book over the weekend, and immediately saw what I wanted to cook first, the rustic jam shortbread tart. I avoid sugar while pregnant, so I've been enjoying my post pregnancy sugar binge for the last 8 months and love easy desserts whose ingredients I have in my pantry or refrigerator. The shortbread tart fit this category. In my first attempt on Sunday, I left out the almonds and lemon zest since I only had walnuts in the freezer and non-organic lemons on the counter. The tart, which I topped with raspberry jam, was very good, though I overbaked it trying to get the jam to the bubbly stage. I also only have a 10 inch tart pan instead of a 9 inch, and the extra room made the crust a little thin. Today, I made the tart again with almonds, lemon zest, and wild blueberry jam and adapted the ingredient amounts for a larger pan. I usually don't have dessert with lunch, but I did today. So did Will, who probably didn't realize how lucky he was this morning when he ran out of time to pack his lunch.

*In Spring of 2005, Will and I decided we would only get books from the library and not buy any no matter how cheap we found them used. We did this to cut down on unnecessary spending and to limit the number of books in our house. It's worked well, and put us in the mindset of buying books is wrong. We are allowed to buy something we can't get at the library or something we can't live without, but we've gone from buying several books a month to buying only several a year.