Thursday, May 14, 2015

Shortbread Biscuits

Shortbread Biscuits 

The first time I had made shortbread biscuits it was as a tribute to this one bakery on Dr.Cawasji Hormusji Street which was an integral part of my romancing Bombay.

It was a Sunny day when I had boarded the local train just like I did twice every week to go to the fort area of Mumbai to walk about aimlessly basking in the architecture of by gone areas romancing just romance . I would usually get out of my house by 11 a.m. reach Victoria terminus which is now known as CST within an hour and then walk around  Fort discovering teeny tiny obscure places to have a hearty meal at.

On one such day after a delicious meal of Chicken Farcha and some watermelon juice at Kyani and Co opposite  Metro Cinema I just kept on walking aimlessly when I happened to suddenly see this teeny tiny bakery. Well a little hole in the wall actually and I saw the stacked baked goodies and suddenly remembered having read about it on this food guide book on Mumbai. This was 2013 when there was't any proper information about what turned out to be my favourite bakery.

Well don't expect to find either pastries or layered frosting filled cakes for this shop shall remain the tea time snack shop to me unless of course they have changed their menu by now.

The first time I went in I thought I would pick up one or two packets  . All I remember is the smell of baked goodies with an addictive hint of butter which drew me closer and closer to the shop.

As I patiently waited for the old lady to finish with her shopping the old gentleman behind the counter asked me what I wanted. I was dilly dallying when he actually got what I would call a spread out for me for tasting . 1 piece each of 6 different kinds of biscuits. The moment I sank my teeth into the Jam biscuits  I was suddenly unreasonably happy. It was buttery, crisp, crumbly  yet not hard and the most delicious biscuit I have ever had. A proper shortbread to be more apt with a  jam filled center . I blurted out that those were the best biscuits I have had when the owner informed me that it was because they used Amul butter all the way through. Needless to say I bought 8 different kinds of biscuits and had the hardest time getting it back home in Mumbai .

Yes in my romance with Mumbai Paris Baker was an important suitor. And for the period of time I would stay in Mumbai I would visit this tiny obscure bakery once every 2 weeks and each and every time I was first well fed by the bakery in the name of tasting a kind of customer service I have not seen being offered with so much of enthusiasm by any other establishment  and then I would go on to purchase the biscuits.

I saw the change in the menu and found my favourite almond biscuit missing from it and in my last 2 visits I found that the gentle face who always smiled and insisted I taste before buying missing from behind the counters.

Anyway soon enough the husband went overseas to further study Solar Energy and I came back to Kolkata and so I made shortbread biscuits.

I believe this is the easiest biscuit to make.  If you google information on shortbread biscuits you will find the definition of shortbread as the biscuit which uses 1 part sugar, 2 part butter and 3 part flour baked at low temperature . If the portions are changed it still remains delicious but ceases to be shortbread biscuits.

For a long time I had used one of the recipes for shortbread given on BBC Food's site  which uses 180C temperature.

Ever since I have bought a copy of Larousse Gastronomique's collected recipes I have become quite a Larousse fanatic after some of its recipe gave me what I consider perfect results.

So here it uses 160C which I found better suited since the definiton included the biscuits baked at low temperature. To be fair this ensured that the biscuits stay palish yellow but the taste is as good when one uses 180C


Recipe source : Larousse Gastronomique

Makes 27 biscuits

100gm caster sugar
200gm butter ( I used Salted Amul Butter as a tribute to Paris bakery in Mumbai )
300gm All Purpose Flour
In case you are using unsalted butter add a fat pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar and then add the flour to make a dough and use a cling film to wrap it and keep it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Divide it into 27 parts or 28 parts and make round balls out of them and line them on a baking sheet with  some gap between each biscuit. Now refrigerate the entire sheet with the raw dough balls for 1 hour . Preheat oven to 160C and then bake for 50 minutes. Let the biscuits cool down on the sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer on to a rack and wait till they completely cool down and then enjoy these buttery crumbly delights.

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