Sunday, February 21, 2016

frozen mango sabayon shortbread

The first thing people ask me when I tell them I write a food blog is, "What's the best thing you've ever made?" Gosh I hate that question. I've never had a good answer. Some days it's been strawberry cheesecake parfaits, other days thyme and black pepper cheez-its. But today, I've finally found an answer, an answer that—without a doubttrounces the precedents. Frozen Mango Sabayon Shortbread. This elegant spring dessert is wonderfully light and refreshing—tropical cubes of mango suspend in creamy sabayon atop crunchy shortbread. Whatever is bothering you, this will surely make the world good again. Cut into wedges and share with only your most worthy of friends...or not, you probably deserve it more. 

We'll now be taking questions from theyesyou sir, with the orange tracksuit and handlebar mustacheHi Chef Chow, my question is regardin—I'm sorry Handlebar Tracksuit, you're going to have to talk a little louder. Hi Chef Chow, my question is regarding sabayon! What is it? and where does it come from? Where does it from? Yeah, you know like, does it come from a cow or a chicken or Virginia? This was a question a received after a speech I conducted in my head. The question is a common one, and unless you haven't already looked it up, here is the answer. Sabayon is the French word for the Italian dessert, Zabaione. In any language, it is a light custard made by whisking egg yolks, sugar, and wine over a double-boiler. Thank you for your question Mr. Tracksuit. (from now on, whenever i want to explain something i'll have handlebar Tracksuit ask the question.)

yields: one 9'' tart tin or two 5'' and two 7'' ceramic molds

for the shortbread
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, ice cold
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt

for the mango sabayon
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup Moscato, or any other sweet dessert wine
1 cup double heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 whole mango, divided and finely diced
optional: a squeeze of lemon juice

1. While this may be the "best shortbread I've ever made", it's also, perhaps, the "easiest shortbread I've ever made". Preheat the oven to 325F. In a food processor, pulse cold butter, the sugars, flour, and salt until the mixture is thoroughly combined and powdery. It is imperative that you use cold butter or else the crust will be dense after baking. The dough is ready when it's sandy and clumps together when you press it between your fingers. 

2. Cut and place a piece of parchment paper at the bottom of the mold. Working quickly so the crumbs don't melt, pack the dish with shortbread crumbs 1/4 inch high. If you have leftover crumbs, you can also cover the sides. As long as you stay within 1/4 inch, use whatever baking vessel suits your fancy. I used two 5'' and two 7'' ceramic molds. This recipe also yields enough crumb to fill the bottom of a 9'' tart pan. Bake immediately for exactly 35 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes after baking. 

3. While the shortbread crust is baking, make the sabayon. Over a bain-marie (double-boiler), whisk egg yolks, sugar, and wine until thick and ribbon-like. The transformation will be absolutely amazing, so if you aren't amazed you probably aren't done. The process should take no less than 10 minutes of constant whisking. If you stop whisking, you run the risk of the egg yolks coagulating, which will make the sabayon lumpy. Basically, don't stop whisking! If you have to take a break, take the sabayon off the heat. Once thoroughly thickened, continue to whisk over a bowl of cold water until cool. 

4. In a separate bowl (don't forget about your shortbread), beat heavy cream until soft peaks. Fold into your sabayon. Be careful not to destroy the millions of teeny-tiny bubbles you worked tirelessly to produce. 

5. I'm going to assume y'all don't need me to explain how to dice a mango. Good luck. It's not that hard. Watch a YouTube video. The extra half a mango (read the above recipe) will be for the garnish. Add the finely diced mango to the sabayon (technically called a parfait now that we added the cream).

6. Fill the tarts with the sabayon mixture, leaving a little bit of room so they are easier to remove from their molds later. Freeze in the freezer until frozen, about 1 hour. 

7. Finally, remove the tarts from their molds by dipping them in a bowl of tap water and running a knife around the outside. The tarts should come out easily thanks to our handy dandy parchment. 

If you've made it this far, you are one of three people: 1) you can't wait to make this, 2) you've already made this and are reliving old memories, or 3) you skipped through all the pictures and feel bad so you're reading the last paragraph. Either way, slice the tart into monster portions and serve with a dollop of whipped cream and pretty flowers. Initially, I meant for the rosemary flowers to be just aesthetic. But, once I ate the tart with them, I was amazed by how well the cream and the mango and the subtle rosemary flavors tasted together. I didn't include rosemary flowers in the recipe box, but count it my little gift to you, the ones who actually read this thing. Cheers and God bless. And as always, 


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