This recipe is the best shortbread I ever had! Filled with quince paste (or your favorite jam), it is unbelievably crunchy due to the genius idea of adding an egg yolk to the dough. Almost too good to be true it can be made in advance.
This is no ordinary shortbread recipe.
I don't know if the name Hungarian shortbread has to do with the added egg yolk to the recipe, or the method, where the almost frozen dough is grated to create a different texture of what we're used to.
Either reason, I barely adapted a phenomenal recipe by Gale Gand (via Dorie Greenspan's book Baking with Julia). One that will skyrocket to the top of your sweet shortbread list.
- The peculiar step in this shortbread is that the dough has an egg yolk, which is fabulous for adding another layer of crunchiness to the baked square. You will see when you bite into it. It's awesome.
- It's frozen and then grated, to make both the bottom and topping of this recipe (image below). The result is a lighter version of shortbread - if that can ever be said after reading the ingredients - but it's true. In spite of the sugar and butter.
- I use a large-holed Microplane grater (image above) and it works great.
The original recipe has a rhubarb compote, but I needed a flavor to make year-round.
Enter quince paste (image below), a hugely popular ingredient where I live. And store-bought.
I made quince paste once, many years ago, and let me tell you the state of my poor hands after peeling them raw made me want to run to my room and cry. I swore never to peel another fresh quince ever again, especially since I can easily buy good quince paste everywhere.
You can use raspberry jam too, or any other thick jam or marmalade. I suggest using flavors that have some acidity, like most berries, apricots, plums, even orange.
This shortbread recipe has been bookmarked since the beginning. The picture in the book is mouthwatering and it looks like something easy to do and crowd-pleasing.
About that, I can surely assess to them being true. The raves they will bring when others bite into them will be close to an ovation. And nope, I'm not kidding. People in my office went nuts!
We have a traditional tart here that is everybody's favorite, similar to the fig tart but with quince paste. Let me tell you that this Hungarian shortbread won over it many times. So I rest my case.
The dough is a regular shortbread mixture of softened butter, sugar, and flour with the addition of egg yolks.
The interesting part is that the dough is first frozen and then grated onto the prepared pan, then the jam filling is sandwiched between two layers of this raw shortbread grated mess before baking. I guess that's the secret to it being so moist and almost fluffy.
My top tips
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Grater: use a large (or coarse) holed grater. Otherwise, it won't work and you'll make a mess in the process.
- Filling: if you use a store-bought, good-quality jam this is as easy as a crumble. After all, it is almost a double-crusted fruit crumble; it sure tastes like one.
- Freezing: you can't skip this step if you want to achieve the right consistency.
- Another use: as mentioned above, this can very well be used as a topping for a fruit crumble or crisp.
Related recipes you might like:
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The Best Hungarian Shortbread
This is the best recipe for Hungarian Shortbread ever! Filled with quince paste, it is unbelievable crunchy due to the genius idea of adding an egg yolk to the dough. It can be made in advance and filled with other jams or pastes.
- Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 9 squares
- 2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (225g) butter, room tº
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 11 oz. (300g) quince paste or raspberry jam
- In a bowl beat butter until light and creamy.
- Add egg yolks and mix well.
- Add sugar, beating a few minutes until almost incorporated.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt. Incorporate with a wooden spoon or spatula; it will be a tad sticky.
- Divide in two and wrap in plastic. Freeze until hard but not rock solid, about 45-50 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF / 190ºC.
- Line a 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 sides unlined.
- Using a wide holed grater, grate one of the dough pieces, letting it cover the bottom of the pan. Press lightly to avoid holes or parts with no dough.
- Cover the bottom dough with quince paste or jam. If it’s too stiff, soften it with a few tablespoons orange juice or water. Be careful to not tear the dough.
- I put paste by tablespoons and then spread it with the back of a spoon.
- Grate the rest of the cold dough, letting it fall as evenly as possible. Press very lightly if you want, but not much.
- Bake for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350ºF / 180ºC and bake another 30 minutes, or until it’s golden, dry and it looks crunchy.
- Let cool on wire rack, but if some parts of paste or jam are stuck to the sides, unstuck them while still hot with a non-serrated knife.
Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
Grater: use a large (or coarse) holed grater. Otherwise, it won't work and you'll make a mess in the process.
Filling: if you use a store-bought, good-quality jam this is as easy as a crumble. After all, it is almost a double-crusted fruit crumble; it sure tastes like one.
Freezing: you can't skip this step if you want to achieve the right consistency.
Another use: as mentioned above, this can very well be used as a topping for a fruit crumble or crisp.
- Prep Time: 90
- Cook Time: 45
- Category: Bars
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
- Serving Size: 1/9
- Calories: 462
- Sugar: 36.8 g
- Sodium: 84.3 mg
- Fat: 21.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 65.6 g
- Protein: 3.9 g
- Cholesterol: 95.2 mg
Keywords: hungarian shortbread, quince shortbread
Delicious and easy. I've made it with persimmon, strawberry and quince. All of them work well. I make it gluten free with flour and it's very good that way as well.
Paula Montenegro says
Hi Beth! So happy it turned out well and that it worked with gluten-free flour, that's a great tip! Happy holidays.
I think this is one of the best shortbread recipes i ever tried! So crunchy. The quince paste is simply perfect as a filling.
Gayle Blanch says
Quinces are easy to stew up and freeze and would be easier than grating. I make quince fruit leather and its sensational. I made quince shortcrust slice but using store bought short crust pastry, defrosting my stewed quinces and drained some of the juice off and then spread it in the middle. It was perfect. Next I'll try a rhubarb pie recipe, but substituting with quinces. I'm sure it will be as good.
Paula Montenegro says
The quince pie sounds amazing! I should start freezing stewed quinces. Good weekend!
Agness of Run Agness Run says
I love crunchy treats, Paula! What kind of sugar do you use?
Paula Montenegro says
Hi Agness, I use regular usually, but brown sugar works well too.
The Ninja Baker says
Thank you for the keeper recipe, Paula. Gale Gand is a dessert diva! Your substitution of rhubarb is so elegant....Mind if I use Japanese strawberry jam? ; )
Paula Montenegro says
Hi Kim! You can use any type of red jam or paste, they all work. What's in japanese stawberry jam?