When the spirits are sagging from an overworked week and the rain is falling in thick sheets outside, summoning the baker’s will isn’t half as easy as it may seem, even with the dreamy swirls of butter and sugar that call out to one in dulcet notes. Still, if whisking or kneading is what it takes to free the mind of some of the stress caused by, well, stirring and sauteing, as it were, one can’t be too finicky about seasons and reasons to turn up the oven. Ringing in festive cheer any time of the year can be a snap when one has colorful ideas and ingredients within an arm’s reach. Our chewy, cherry-laden Pistachio Shortbread is the proof and the pudding, so to speak. Every gloom has its spell, as we like to say, and it usually lasts not a moment longer than the ding of the oven timer.
Pistachio-Cherry Shortbread Wedges with Cardamom
(Makes 12 wedges)
- ½ Cup sugar
- ½ Teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ Cup butter, at room temperature
- ½ Cup shelled pistachios, outer skins removed and chopped
- ½ Cup dried cherries, minced
- 1 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon coarse sugar or ¼ cup chopped pistachios for topping, optional
- Line a 8″ or 9″ round cake pan with parchment.
- Place the sugar and cardamom in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Toss in the butter and run the processor for about 2 minutes. Add the pistachios and pulse a few times to break them down. Then tip in the cherries and flour. Pulse very briefly until the dough becomes crumbly and just starts to come together.
- Tip the dough into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to press the dough down. Use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into 12 wedges. Sprinkle the coarse sugar crystals or chopped pistachios, if using. Refrigerate the pan for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C.
- Bake the shortbread for about 35 minutes or until just starting to darken at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then turn it out carefully onto a board. Cut the shortbread along the indentations made earlier while it is still warm. Cool completely before eating.