Cure for the blues - T-B-A (Tata - Birla - Ambani) Shortbread
(T-B-A ... Tata - Birla - Ambani. For those of you unfamiliar with Bollywood lingo, these powerhouse Industrial names are synonymous with wealth & riches in India)
(Crore: a numerical term used in India, equivalent to 10 million;
Crorepati : Some one whose net worth is over 10 million rupees)
For recipes like this, the lesser said the better. Yapping on and on about inspirations etc is like teasing a puppy by holding a delectable treat just out of reach.
As far as decadence goes, it can't get any better (or easier) than a tray of millionaire's shortbread. I mean, whats not to love? - buttery shortbread, salty caramel, decadent chocolate ganache.
The combination of crunch shortbread, a delicately chewy caramel & silky chocolate makes for a textural treat for the tongue.
OK.. have I annoyed you enough? I found my inspiration from Merrill Stubb's recipe from Food52. The touches that give it the Indian touch is the trio of spices that flavor each layer. Ground ginger in the shortbread, cardamom in the caramel & a touch of long pepper (Pippli/ Thippili) in the ganache. So here goes.. The 'Crorepati shortbread'
Crorepati Shortbread:(recipe adapted from Merrill Stubb's recipe on Food52)
Makes about 16 pieces (and a generous bit of the yummy edge)
Shortbread layer:1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon powdered dry ginger.
12 (1 1/2 sticks) tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 F . Line a 9 x 9 inch square baking ban with parchment paper.
Sift the Flour, salt, sugar and dry ginger into a mixing bowl.
Cut the butter into small cubes. Add to the dry mixture. Mix with a fork & gently fold together until the mixture combines to make a soft ball of dough.
Transfer the dough to the baking pan and press into an even layer (Using a large offset spatula for this works great). Using a fork, prick holes all over the dough.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Caramel layer :(Sorry, no pics for this round, I was too busy focusing on getting this tricky layer right)
1¼ cups sugar
¼ cup water
5 tablespoons heavy cream
seeds from 6 - 7 pods of cardamom powdered fine
5 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
Combine the cream with the cardamom powder.
Heat the water and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan until the sugar completely dissolves. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes till the sugar begins to turn into a deep amber color. (Watch the pot carefully at this stage. You don't want the mix to start getting burnt). Remove the pot from the heat, and add the cream carefully while vigorously whisking the mix. The mix will bubble furiously, so take extreme care. Add the butter, followed by the creme fraiche ( For those of you in India who are fortunate enough to make yogurt every day, simply skim the heavy creamy layer off the top of the yogurt, whip to a smooth consistency with a fork & use).
Once the caramel has cooled down to a point where you can touch it, pour the layer over the shortbread. Tilt the pan to ensure that the caramel spreads evenly all over the shortbread layer and tap gently to get rid of any bubbles. Allow to chill in the refrigerator while you make the chocolate.
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 a long pepper grated over a microplane (or 1/4 tsp black pepper)
Himalayan pink salt crystals for garnish.
Heat the heavy cream along with the spice & bring to a boil. Add the semisweet chocolate and whisk into a smooth shiny consistency. our over the shortbread/caramel layer, tipping & tappling to get an even layer minus any annoying bubbles. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Finish with a sprinkling of salt and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before removing the confection out of the baking pan & cutting it.
These make a great gift, placed into little paper cups & boxed with a ribbon.
& the crumbs and 'imperfect pieces' are a great treat to mop up with a cup of coffee!