Ginger shortbread – delicious

13 Dec

DSCI0437I have never made shortbread before and was a bit concerned by dough was not soft enough. I need not have worried. It was absolutely delicious. So delicious in fact that my husband would not leave it alone and ate five of the eight slices! A few days later he was telling someone he didn’t like cake. Mmmm! Selective memory I think.  Here are a few interesting facts about ginger.

  • Ginger was used in ancient times as a food preservative and to help treat digestive problems. To do this the Greeks would eat ginger wrapped in bread. Eventually ginger was added to the bread dough creating that wonderful treat many around the globe love today: gingerbread!
  • Ginger ale eventually stemmed from a ginger beer made by the English and Colonial America as a remedy for diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
  • Ginger thrives in the tropics and warmer regions and is therefore currently grown in parts of West Africa, the West Indies, India and China with the best quality ginger coming from Jamaica where it is most abundant.
  • Root ginger is characterized by it’s strong sweet, yet woodsy smell. It is tan in color with white to creamy-yellow flesh that can be coarse yet stringy.
  • Ginger is available year-round. When selecting root ginger, choose robust firm roots with a spicy fragrance and smooth skin. It should not be cracked or withered. It can be stored tightly wrapped in a paper towel or plastic wrap (or put into a plastic bag) in the refrigerator for 2–3 weeks.
  • Ginger is popular in Asian cuisine where it is used both fresh and dried. Ginger can also be found crystallized, candied, preserved and pickled.  The powdered, dried form of ginger has a more spicy, intense flavor and is often used in baking (gingerbread, gingersnaps, ginger cookies).
  • After ginger was first introduced in Europe (approximately 800 AD) it ranked second to pepper as a spice for centuries.
  • Chinese cooks use ginger with beef successfully, whereas European chefs prefer to use it as an exotic flavouring for fresh fruit salads, or to give cream of carrot soup and extra kick.

The recipe was in a Good Food magazine and had been sent in by Jo Foster, a reader from Leigh-on-Sea.  The recipe wasn’t on their website when I looked so I have written it out below.

Ginger shortbread                                   Serves 8 – 12

  • 175g / 6 oz plain flour
  • 8 pieces crystallised ginger, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 50g / 2oz caster sugar
  • 100g / 4 oz salted butter, softened
  1. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2 and grease a 10 inch loose-bottomed fluted flan tin.
  2. Beat the butter until soft then beat in the sugar. Add the lemon zest and ginger and mix well.
  3. Stir in the flour and, using your hands, work it into a soft dough.  Tip it into the tin and press into an even flat layer with your fingers. Prick the surface with a fork then bake in the oven for 40 minutes until pale gold.
  4. Cut into wedges and cool completely in the tin.
  5. Remove from the tin and dust with a little caster sugar to serve.

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