Almond and Cardamom Rye Shortbread with Whisky Raspberry Cream
Last week, CT and I were somewhat shocked to find we’d been together for twenty years. How did that happen? To celebrate we both took the day off and went clambering around the Cornish coast. We also called in at the Canteen at Maker Heights. How could we resist the best food in those parts? There, sitting on the counter was a round of almond rye shortbread. Completely intrigued, I had to recreate it.
The Canteen up on the hill at Maker Heights is a recent discovery for us. We’ve both been incredibly impressed. It’s not a vegetarian establishment, but it offers some of the best vegetarian cuisine I’ve ever tasted. The menu is imaginative and the flavours are complex. Unusually, it’s based in a couple of old army Nissen huts and has stunning views out over Cawsand Bay. We arrived in time to take advantage of the breakfast menu. CT went for a full English and I had possibly the best veggie breakfast I’ve ever eaten, with roasted shallots, leek tempera and hispi cabbage to accompany the more usual eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast. Less usually, the eggs were poached and the toast was sourdough.
I often grind my own almonds when baking. This gives a fresher and tastier result with a more interesting texture. This almond and cardamom rye shortbread was one of those occasions. I went with a mix of half rye flour to half ground almonds and used the classic shortbread measures of three sixths flour, two sixths butter and one sixth sugar. Cardamom seemed like the right thing to add somehow and I was absolutely right. Annoyingly I left it in the oven too long, so it was a little darker than I’d have liked. I’ve adjusted the baking time in the recipe so that this doesn’t happen to you.
Despite being a little overdone, the almond rye shortbread was totally scrumptious, being buttery and crumbly, but also slightly chewy. The variations in the size of the nut pieces made for a great texture and the cardamom flavour was noticeable, but only just. It went beautifully with some Cornish raspberries, half of which I used to make an accompanying whisky raspberry cream.
- 120g (4.5 oz) ground almonds (I ground up whole almonds)
- 120g (4.5 oz) wholemeal rye flour
- 160g (6 oz) unsalted butter
- 80g (3 oz) golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
- 3 green cardamom pods - ground
- pinch of salt (I used Himalayan pink rock salt)
- 200ml double cream
- 1 punnet of raspberries
- 1 tbsp whisky
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (putting 1 tsp of the sugar to one side). Cut in the butter, then rub it in between fingers until most of the buttery lumps have disappeared.
- Bring the mixture together into a ball and then press into an 20 cm (8") greased tin.
- Bake in the centre of the oven at 180℃ for 20 minutes.
- Cut into 8 triangles, then sprinkle the tsp of sugar over the top.
- Whisk the double cream and whisky until just holding its shape.
- Roughly mash in the raspberries, saving a few for decoration.
- Serve on top or beside the shortbread.
- You can use bought ground almonds, but you'll get a tastier and more interesting shortbread if you grind your own.
- This makes 8 large pieces, so it could easily be cut into 10 or even 12 pieces for something a little more modest.
Some other sweet bakes using rye that you might like
- Blackcurrant and rose nonnettes
- Caramelised banana, coconut, chocolate & peanut butter cake
- Cinnamon honey Christmas stars
- Henk’s chocolate nut cakes
- Rhubarb and rose honey cakes
- Rye bread and blackcurrant cake
- Spelt, rye and berry cookies