HL asked one of the fabulous chefs who contributed to HL Food 2012, Alexandra Earl, to make us something mouth-watering for Valentine’s Day. One look at her wheat-free chocolate tart on page 123 of the Food issue and we knew she was the one for the job! To capture the spirit of this special occasion, Alexandra whipped up a batch of decadent pistachio shortbread hearts, served with roasted nectarines. If you want to be in your loved one’s good books, why not surprise them with this treat that they won’t soon forget? Ingredients: 250g unsalted butter, cold 250g plain flour 125g corn flour 125g icing sugar 100g pistachios Caster sugar for sprinkling Makes about 20 shortbreads Directions: Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line two baking trays with baking paper. Place the sugar and flours in a bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture starts to resemble breadcrumbs. Continue working the mixture until it starts to come together into dough. This takes a while, but keep at it. Add in the pistachios and work them into the dough. If you have a standing mixer, place the flours and sugar into the bowl. Add the butter in cubes and then, using the beater attachment, beat on a medium speed until the dough comes together. When the dough has formed, wrap it in cling-film and allow it to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a very lightly dusted surface until it is 1/2cm thick. Because the dough is short it may crumble at the edges. If you struggle to roll it out without cracks appearing, divide the dough into two parts and roll them out separately. Using a heart-shaped cutter, cut shapes into the dough. If you find the dough is sticking slightly to the workspace, slide a palette knife underneath to release the shapes. Combine the leftover parts and roll out again. Place your shapes on the lined baking trays and bake for 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden. As soon as you’ve removed the shortbreads from the oven, dust them lightly with caster sugar. Cool completely on the trays before storing in an airtight container. They will keep for a week. For the Roasted Nectarines Ingredients: 1 nectarine per person 4 teaspoons unsalted butter 4 teaspoons light brown sugar 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract Raspberries Double Cream Shortbread Hearts Directions: Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Slice the nectarines into halves and remove the stones. Place skin side down on a baking tray. Dot each half with a teaspoon of butter followed by a teaspoon of sugar and a drizzle of vanilla extract. Roast these in the oven for about 30 minutes until the nectarines are soft. On side plates, place a shortbread heart (one per person). Place two nectarine halves on top of the heart and scatter raspberries around. Finally add a generous spoonful of double cream. Serve while the nectarines are still hot. You can also add in cinnamon sticks, star anise or a split vanilla pod to the tray before baking. However, without the additional spices the flavours of the nectarines shine through. Note: you can substitute the nectarines with peaches if you prefer.