Charlotte Druckman’s Cacio e Pepe Shortbread

December 21, 2016


Author Notes: Adapted slightly from Stir, Sizzle, Bake: Recipes for Your Cast Iron Skillet (Random House, 2016).Genius Recipes

Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, using the small holes of a box grater (divided)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons finely grated pecorino Romano cheese, using the small holes of a box grater (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper (divided)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F with a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in it.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons each of the Parmesan and pecorino and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on low speed for 1 minute or so, until it’s smooth and fluffy, like cake frosting. Add the sugar, salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper and mix until combined. Turn off the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Set the speed to medium and mix for 4 to 5 minutes more, until the mixture takes on a thick, creamy, almost shiny texture, like mayonnaise.
  4. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the all-purpose and semolina flours and mix on low speed to incorporate. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl one more time, add the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1/2 cup pecorino, and mix for 1 minute. Using the rubber spatula, push the dough together to form a ball.
  5. Remove the hot skillet from the oven and brush it with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Turn the dough into the skillet and, working quickly, using your fingers (but being careful of the hot pan), press the dough into the skillet, pushing it out to fill the edges and flattening it to create an even surface. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle the dough with the cheese-pepper mixture.
  6. Bake the shortbread for 18 to 23 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. The middle should be cooked through, but slightly soft; it will harden as it cools. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a plate, carefully invert the pan and flip the shortbread out, then flip it once more onto another plate, so that it’s right-side up. Let cool completely. (Or simply cool, slice, and serve from the pan.)
  7. To serve, divide the shortbread into 10 to 12 wedges. Enjoy it with your afternoon coffee or aperitifs. Like prosecco, Bellinis, rosé, or whatever you like to drink at cocktail hour.

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Reviews (14) Questions (0)

14 Reviews

KFS January 18, 2017
Does it have to be done in a cast iron pan...could I round it out and bake it on a baking sheet?
 
Rivka January 12, 2017
How long does this keep?
 
Kristen M. January 12, 2017
It keeps well, like other shortbreads, but I'd say it tastes best within 4 or 5 days. If you're going to do other exciting things with it, like warm it up to serve under poached eggs, you'd be able to extend that (especially by keeping it in the fridge).
 
Kristen M. January 12, 2017
Also, hi Rivka! Happy to see you here.
 
Chloe January 11, 2017
Semolina flour is not something I typically have on hand. Is there something else I could potentially substitute for it?
 
Kristen M. January 12, 2017
I haven't tried it myself yet, but I think since it's only 1/2 cup, you could substitute more all-purpose flour, fine cornmeal, or another a fine whole grain flour.
 
chardrucks February 8, 2017
hi! adding to your options, you could go with spelt! or kamut (although you're probably not likely to have it on hand; kamut, btw? I LOVE). the semolina flour's a bit softer than the AP, so it gives you a slightly more powdery texture. but not enough that leaving it out will make the shortbread any less good.
 
KLCannaday January 10, 2017
This is really intriguing... just wondering about the level of sweetness. While I don't bake a lot, 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar seems generous for a savory shortbread (?)
 
Kristen M. January 10, 2017
It's sweet and savory at the same time—very unique. I didn't know how to explain it to people I served it to, but it didn't seem to matter. They inhaled it.
 
Lisa January 1, 2017
I have parmasean cheese on hand all the time but not always the pecorino - could other types of firm/hard cheeses be used? Thinking asiago or even a good sharp cheddar
 
Kristen M. January 3, 2017
To get the same texture, you'll want to go with something comparably dry—I'd probably just use more Parmesan to make up the difference, but either of those could fit the bill if they're not too soft (and the flavor should be nice, regardless).
 
chardrucks February 8, 2017
hi! just checking in here. it may be too late, but i just wanted to add that you can go with parmesan alone, but pecorino's a bit saltier and sharper--parmesan's a bit nuttier and a little more muted, so if you do a swap with another cheese, which i encourage (why not?) keep that in mind.
 
Martha S. December 21, 2016
The description mentions semolina flour and the directions say "flours" (plural). Please clarify. Thanks
 
Kristen M. December 21, 2016
There's also all-purpose flour—I just added a little more description to that step to help clarify!