Earl Grey Shortbread Sandwiches filled with Pink Grapefruit Curd
With the air growing cooler and the leaves now a fiery rainbow, I find myself wanting to just sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy sitting in the fall air. Now, in the 4th week of National Cookie Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to focus on tea and cookies.
I love classic shortbread. The simplicity of the ingredients means you need to make sure you are using high quality products. Use real butter and pure vanilla. Adding Earl Grey tea to the batter elevates these to the perfect afternoon snack. Jasmine Tea also works well in these.
For the pink element of these cookies, I fill them with Pink Grapefruit Curd. Curds are one of my favorite spreads and are well worth making fresh. Simply a mixture of fruit (usually citrus), sugar, butter, and eggs cooked to a smooth and thick spread, curds go far beyond the common lemon. Containing eggs, curds must be refrigerated so store the cookies separately and only add the curd when serving.
Earl Grey Shortbread
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ground Earl Grey tea
Beat together butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes
Beat in vanilla, then add flour, salt, and tea, and mix on low speed just until combined
Form dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and chill at least 1 hour or overnight
Preheat oven to 325° and line baking sheet with parchment paper
With the first disk, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Rolling between parchment will help it not stick
Freeze until firm ~ about 10 minutes
You can use any shape cookie cutter you desire, but do not cut free form since you will need to sandwich the cookies so must have uniform shapes
Gently press one side into sanding sugar and arrange on baking sheet, sugar side up.
Bake 16-18 minutes until pale gold and cool on a rack.
Spread a generous dollop of curd onto unsugared side of a cookie and sandwich with another
1 c. fresh Ruby Red grapefruit juice (should need 2-3 grapefruits)
3 Tbsp. finely grated Ruby Red grapefruit zest
3 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 c. unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
Boil juice over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 c. ~ about 5 minutes. Let cool
Whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, reduced juice, zest, and salt.
Cook in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, a pot of simmering water.
WHISK CONSTANTLY until thickened, about 6-7 minutes
Remove from heat and whisk in butter, a Tbsp at a time
Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl suspended in an ice bath and stir until cool
Cover with plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming
Refrigerate until cold
food photography by Jennifer Heffner Photography