Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cranberry Shortbread "Cake"



I never, ever, ever would have made this "cake" if it wasn't for my esteemed blogging buddy Jessica of A Singleton in the Kitchen. And that would have been a real shame. Jessica, who will be faced with renaming her blog next year when she and beau Dudley get married, chose Dorie Greenspan's Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake as this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection.

I had a VERY hard time forcing myself to make this "cake." First, there's no photo in the book and I just couldn't wrap my head around how it would look. Second, although I like cranberries, I don't wake up in the morning and think "Gee, what can I make with cranberries today?" And last, the dough sounded finicky and difficult to work with. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A shortbread "cake" (I keep using quotes because it's all crust to me) surrounds a jam you make with cranberries and orange supremes. I went with a Texas pink grapefruit, both in honor of Jessica and, well, because it was what I had available. I made the super easy jam several days before I made the "cake" and tucked it away in the fridge. Last night, I checked Jessica's post (you can find it here) hoping for a photo of the completed "cake" to inspire me to make it. Yes and yes! So this morning I got up at five and started on the "cake." Surprise of surprises, I LOVED working with the dough. In fact, I plan to try this as a tart crust because I love it so much.

This recipe, except for my procrastination, was completely uneventful. Here's what I learned:
  • Knowing my natural proclivity for not evenly measuring two dough halves, I weighed them on my scale.
  • Jessica's "cake" looked as though she left a small border around the jam and pressed the crust closed around the jam. I liked that idea so I did the same.
  • Tracey tweeted that she measured the top crust to get it the right size. I didn't do that, although I did use the ring of the springform pan to gauge it. My top crust ended up a tiny bit bigger than I wanted, so I pushed down the excess.
  • Although I didn't do it this time, I am currently enamored with adding ginger to many of my recipes. I think some diced fresh ginger would make a great addition to the jam.
  • I sprinkled Demerara sugar on top of the "cake" before baking.
In case you think I'm on the fence about this one, au contraire. I loved it. The tartness of the cranberries played perfectly against the sweet, crunchy pastry. It will be hard to share this one.

Jessica, thanks for a fantastic pick. I heart you, and not just because you chose this TART.

If you'd like the recipe, I have one thing to say...buy the book already! It's the best baking book, period. But if it's not in the budget this week, Jessica has the recipe for you, as well as a tasty apple version. And there are hundreds of us baking through Baking From My Home to Yours. You can find out what the other bakers thought here.

Check back next week...I'll have something exciting for you!

20 comments:

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious cranberries looks yummy

chocolatechic said...

It looks lovely.


I grated my crust...it isn't smooth, kinda looks rustic.

Tastes fabulous

Mary said...

Pretty! I know what you mean about cranberries not being at the top of the baking list. I ended up using raspberries, and was surprised that I liked this. Ginger, fresh or crystallised is pretty fantastic in many things, and I bet it would be great here.
:)

Kayte said...

Okay, so you beat me getting this done this morning and getting it posted...lol. Yours looks amazing...very very pretty! Mine turned out really nice as well...I can't be making this too often as I ate a very large slice of it...see my blog, that was not a guy's piece this week, that was MY PIECE!! Yikes.

Tia said...

Looks yummy! This was a huge hit with us - I crumbled the top layer over the filling instead of rolling it. LOVED THIS! Tia @ Buttercreambarbie

cindy said...

Loved this cake/cookie/dessert. Since it was full of fruit I ate a slice for breakfast. So many options here. Have a great day.

Karen said...

Yours looks perfect! I am glad you chose to make it!

Tracey said...

Looks wonderful Leslie! I wish I'd left a slightly bigger border around the edge of the jam so my crust closed around the jam better, really for aesthetic reasons more than anything else. I'm so glad you liked this one after deciding to get up early and bake it :)

Jessica said...

Leslie, you are such a sweetie. Thanks for all of your kind words. And, ummm, I *LOVE* (a million times) that you used a Texas pink grapefruit here. Yum! I'm making a note to try that. When I was thinking of all of the filling variations, pink grapefruit was one I wanted to try, and I just couldn't figure it out without marmalade of some sort. You've gotten me one step closer.

I'm delighted that you enjoyed this pick, and that it was worth waking up early to bake. Your cake looks gorgeous, too! I'm guilty of doing my usual breeze through the directions routine which I why I have my filling encased rather than sandwiched, but I'm glad it worked for you, too. Thank you so much for baking along with me this week!

Amber Marie said...

Glad you liked it! I thought it was surprisingly good. The cranberries are such a lovely red!

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

Beautiful! I have a family full of people who don't like pumpkin pie and I think this would be a fantastic Thanksgiving dessert.

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

Beautiful! I have a family full of people who don't like pumpkin pie and I think this would make a fantastic Thanksgiving dessert!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I love the look of that pastry...the way you describe it as "crunchy.." yum!!

TeaLady said...

This was an excellent choice by our Singleton/Doubleton. And so open to so many fillings.

Yours looks just perfect.But the ginger does sound delicious.

margot said...

Nice job on the "cake," I can't believe you woke up at five to make it! I love using my food scale for weighing dough, my approximations are usually totally off.

Jess said...

I liked this "cake" too, although I was also perplexed without a picture to guide me. Grapefruit with cranberries - I never would have dreamed that up, but it does sound good!

Di said...

Great notes and suggestions, Leslie! I never would have thought to add grapefruit, but it sounds delicious. And I bet ginger would be good, too.

jillbert said...

Cake or tart, it looks really beautiful! I skipped this one because my husband isn't too big on cranberries, but I know I would have liked it.

Cakelaw said...

It turned out great Leslie.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Ooh, grapefruit and cranberries, two of my favorite flavors. I guess I just go for the tart things; I definitely went for this cake/tart. Loved it, and will be returning to the recipe again.

Glad you baked this one!