Christmas countdown week has arrived! Yahoo! Around our house, the week before Christmas is pretty much an ode to flour, sugar and butter galore. Hello, cookies! Yep, it’s a baking extravaganza right up until the man in red arrives. Then that baking extravaganza turns into a gifting, eating and all-around holidaying extravaganza. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
My family definitely has some sweet holiday staples that make the spread year after year, but it’s always fun to add something new to the mix, especially when it’s unexpected. Earlier in the fall, I wrote a short review of The Cookery Book, the second edition of a cookbook put out by the Friends of the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., for Jefferson City Magazine, and was asked to whip up one of the recipes as part of the story. After some perusing, I picked the Gâteau Churchill, the pretty stackable number pictured above. It was described in the book as “One of Lady Churchill’s favorites at No. 10 Downing St., London, England.” High praise, I’d say.
The cookbook itself doesn’t include any photos of its recipes, so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I got rolling, but the final dessert came together looking like a stacked, majestic wonder. A dessert fit for royalty! The shortbread base is incredibly buttery and rich, so it’s definitely a your-tummy-will-thank-you-if-you-stick-to-small-portions kind of sweet. But it’s beautiful and charming and tastes super special. And with the pretty spread of raspberry jam between each layer and a snowy sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar on top, the dessert is downright festive.
Adapted slightly from The Cookery Book, Page 193. One of Lady Churchill’s favorites at No. 10 Downing St., London, England
• 14 tablespoons butter
• 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup dark brown sugar
• raspberry jam
• confectioners’ sugar
• heavy cream, whipped
Place butter, flour, salt and sugar in the large bowl of a food processor and pulse until dough comes together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Form into ball and chill until firm. Cut dough into six equal parts. Keep each refrigerated until ready to roll. Roll out each piece on a heavily floured board just enough (about ¼ inch thick) to cut into a 6-inch round, the size of a small tea plate.
Place on greased baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Once cool, stack the six rounds in layers and spread raspberry jam between each layer. Sift confectioners’ sugar on the top layer. Serve with heated raspberry jam and whipped cream.
Is your holiday baking in full swing? How are you prepping for the big day? What sugary goodness is going on at your house?