Makes 2 dozen 2 inch bars
2 medium mixing bowls, 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch pan, whisk, rubber spatula, electric mixer, and box grater
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves or jam (8 oz)
Optional: Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at low speed until combined. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until a soft dough forms. Halve the dough and form into logs. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8 1/2 by 11 inch baking dish. Working over the baking dish, coarsely shred 1 log of dough on the large holes of a box grater, evenly distributing the dough in the baking dish. Do not pat or press the dough. Using a spoon, dollop the preserves over the dough and gently spread it in an even layer. Grate the second log of dough on top. Using a rubber spatula, tuck in any shreds of dough sticking to the side of the baking dish to prevent them from burning.
3. Bake the shortbread on the bottom rack of the oven for 35 minutes, covering it with foil halfway through baking. The shortbread is done when the pastry is golden all over. Let cool completely then cut into 24 bars. Dust the tops with confectioners' sugar and serve.
I am not much of a baker (the only other real baking I've attempted were coconut bars, a recipe I lost, and chocolate-chip cookies, which are pretty easy to make) but this was just as simple and very straight forward. My second time making it, I used strawberry preserves instead of raspberry and it came out just as good, if not better. I used a little less preserves than the original recipe calls for: about 7 ounces instead of 8.
As I have about four box graters at home, that's what made me want to try out the recipe (box graters are an essential tool for making pasteles). I found that the bars came out fantastic, although I did have to do a little shaping after grating it into the pan so that it was evenly distributed.
Because the dough would get softened while I held it to the grater, I'd pop it in the freezer for a quick chill. The second time I made it, I put it in the freezer just before I started grating it and I found it came out much better and was easier to grate.
Other Comments: I forgot about putting on the foil both times, but it came out a golden color, despite my mistake. Overdoing the jam/preserves makes it way too gloppy and soft, which is why I used less the second time, so just watch out when spreading it on. I never used confectioners' sugar.
Recipe Found In: Food & Wine (May 2005)
Recipe source: Melissa McKinney, Criollo Bakery, 4727 N.E. Fremont, St. Portland, OR; 503-335-9331