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Lemon & Thyme Shortbread


These buttery, delicate biscuits from Nadia Lim’s fantastic book, Vegful, marry the classic flavours of lemon and thyme with the extra crunch of polenta. They look gorgeous as simple rounds or can be shaped with your favourite cookie cutter. The temperature of the butter is vital — it must be cold, not softened or melted. Be careful not to overmix as this will make the dough tough.

Lemon & Thyme Shortbread

Ingredients

175g plain flour
1⁄3c caster sugar
75g fine polenta or semolina
1 egg yolk
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2–3t finely chopped or picked thyme leaves
175g cold butter, cubed

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 150°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

2.  Combine flour, caster sugar, polenta/semolina, egg yolk, lemon zest and thyme in a large bowl. Add butter and use your fingertips to gently rub it in until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3.  Bring dough together with your hands and shape into two balls. Wrap balls in clingfilm and refrigerate for five minutes to firm up a little.

4.  On a clean, dry, lightly floured surface, roll each ball out to 0.5–0.75cm thickness. Use a cookie cutter (approximately 6cm diameter) to cut into rounds. Alternatively, shape the dough into two logs, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for another five minutes and then slice into rounds (0.5-0.75cm thick).

5.  Transfer to the prepared trays with the help of a metal fish slice or edge of a knife. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until shortbread is light golden around the edges. Swap the trays around halfway through cook time, so that the batches cook evenly.

6.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for a few minutes. Gently transfer shortbread to a wire rack to cool completely and let them crisp up. Store in an airtight container or cake tin — they will keep for several weeks if they last that long!

GISBORNE LEMONS

Our lemons are grown by Brian and Dianne Williams – we first spotted them right across the road from our house on the way to drop the kids at school, globes of gold ripe for the picking. Brian grows lemons exclusively – they are his passion and he pours all of his skill as an orchardist (not to mention his magic homemade seaweed fertiliser) into growing the very best Meyer and Yen Ben varieties.

Lemons are used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for their juice and zest. They make such a difference to food’s flavour and are used so often in cooking that they are considered almost indispensable. They contain a high amount of vitamin C.

Lemons store well at room temperature out of direct sunlight for at least a week, but will last much longer in the fridge – up to a month in a sealed plastic bag – where their vitamin content is undiminished. 

We supply two varieties.

Meyer: for maximum juice

The Meyer lemon is the most commonly grown lemon in New Zealand. It is a cross between a lemon and mandarin and is sweeter than the Yen Ben variety. It is a soft fruit with high juice content.

Available from April to November

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Yen Ben: for lovers of zest

Considered a 'true lemon' due to its more tangy flavour and sharp citric bite. Yen Ben has a thin, pale skin, which is fantastic for zest. The fruit are quite firm so juicing can be hard work.

Available from December to March.

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