I may save your Valentine’s Day with this one (or a dinner party or a potluck…). If you forget to order the decadent chocolate hearts or couldn’t deal with making the complicated layer cake, here is a lovely sweet and thoughtful dessert for your valentine. This remarkable tart couldn’t be easier to make and uses staples you can keep around the house, but it is decidedly delicious and has that elegant rustic feel we all love. It really is one of those “oh this, I just threw it together…” recipes. Print this, pin it, copy it out, whatever you need to do to keep it on hand. Here I give a valentine perfect version with ruby red strawberry preserves and heart warming cardamom, but the possibilities are endless.
Use a really nice butter, like a higher fat European style (Plugra, Kerrygold, President) so the shortbread has a lovely buttery taste. And be adventurous with your flavors. The whiff of cardamom in this version adds a little mystery to the simple strawberry, but you can change it up to your taste and with what you have on hand. I love some finely chopped rosemary in the shortbread with orange marmalade as the filling. Or lavender and blueberry jam. Nutmeg and cherry preserves, sage and plum jam. This recipe came to me originally as a vehicle for my surplus of homemade jams and if that’s your thing, I highly encourage it. Or use some of those very fancy preserves that come in Christmas food baskets. Use your imagination!
Strawberry Cardamom Shortbread Tart
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup strawberry preserves
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan with baking spray.
- Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat a few seconds to break it up. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium high until light and smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times, about 5 minutes. Add the flour a cup at a time with the cardamom and salt and beat until the mixture is thoroughly combined and cohesive, but with a little bit of crumble to it. Scoop out a little more than 1/3 cup of the dough and set aside. Crumble the rest of the dough in an even layer over the base of the tart pan, then pat it to a cohesive layer that completely covers the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Spread the preserves over the base in an even layer with the back of a spoon, then crumble the rest of the dough randomly over the top with some preserves peeking through.
- Bake the tart for 30 – 35 minutes until the preserves are bubbling and the crumble has just the merest hint of golden – you do not want the shortbread crumble browned. Let the tart cool in the pan for 15 minutes then removing the ring. You may need to loosen the edges with a shrp knife where the preserves have cooked. Don’t let the tart cool completely with the ring attached or it will be difficult to remove from any sticky jam spots. The tart can be served barely warm or at room temperature. Wrapped airtight it will keep on the counter for a day.