Cooking with mandarin has always intrigued me.
I'm not entirely sure why, though I think it's got to do with the way I classify it. I mean, orange is a cooking and an eating fruit. So is banana and apple. But mandarin and kiwi and watermelon are certainly eating fruits. I mean, you can cook with them, but I never think of them as something to cook with. If we have heaps of mandarins, I don't begin dreaming up ways to bake with them, but instead think 'Oh, I'd better eat more mandarins this week'.
So today I thought I'd break the stereotype and make that ever-growing bowl of mandarins into something delicious, to prove to me (and the world) once and for all that mandarin should be up there with the other big names in cooking with fruit. And this recipe did just that, perfectly.
The shortbread itself is delicious and citrusy, and in combination with the beautiful sweet filling, you have an absolutely adorable, and delicious, little mouthful of biscuit. I made mine tiny, and that worked really well for sharing, but you could certainly make them bigger if you liked. The recipe makes rather a lot too, so making them bigger would save a fair bit of rolling and cutting time. Not that this recipe is particularly time consuming; it's actually quite quick!
Double Mandarin Shortbread
200gm unsalted butter, softened slightly
110gm castor sugar
240gm plain flour
80gm almond meal
the peel of 2 small mandarins (pith removed as much as possible)
1 small pinch of salt
60gm softened butter, unsalted
1 cup pure icing sugar ( sifted)
Approximately 2 teaspoons mandarin juice
2 x coin sized pieces of mandarin peel.
1 sprinkling salt
1. Put the sugar and the mandarin peel into a food processor and process until the peel is very fine and the sugar begins to turn orange. Beat this mixture with the butter until pale, light and fluffy.
2. Add the flour and almond meal and mix with a wooden spoon until just pulling together. Tip out onto a work surface and knead very gently together into a flat disc. Refrigerate for approximately half an hour.
3. Preheat oven to 180˚c (350˚f). Roll the dough out between two pieces of baking paper to about 2cm thick (or to your liking) and cut small circles. Continue this process until all the dough is used up.
4. Place onto a lined tray leaving space for each biscuit to spread, and chill again approx 10 min in the fridge.
5. Bake for approx 15 min, or until they are firm (they will not really brown). Remove from tray and allow to cool.
6. While cooling, make the filling by putting the sugar, salt and peel into the food processor and whizzing until the rind is completely broken down. Add the icing sugar and 1/2 of the juice. Process till smooth, adding extra juice if the mixture is too stiff.
7. Once the biscuits are cool, spread with the mandarin icing and stick two together. Enjoy!