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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conway

Kentucky - The Bluegrass State

Why isn't it the Commonwealth of Bluegrass?

Two Truths and a Lie

The Recipe - Kentuckified Linzers

Linzers are a historic treat consisting of two rounds of buttery dough sandwiching a fruit filling. An Austrian countess recorded a recipe for the delicacy back in 1653. In Hapsburg days a Linzertorte was served as a large tart with a black currant filling. Nowadays, home bakers usually make individual Linzer cookies with raspberry jam inside. To make them extra beautiful, the top cookie usually has a cut-out to expose the filling and a dusting of powdered sugar.

I decided to make a version with ingredients that celebrate Kentucky: pecans, blackberries, and bourbon. Blackberries are the official state fruit. I chose pecans because they're popular throughout the south. And I chose bourbon because Louisville, Kentucky, is the birthplace of the beloved, amber spirit. The state still leads the world in bourbon production.

My first batch was a mess. I replaced ground almonds with an equal amount of ground pecans. I failed to account for the higher fat content of pecans, and the extra-rich dough spread in the oven, losing all the lovely cut-out shapes. I also poured too much bourbon into the dough making it very sticky to work with. Finally, my blackberry curd failed as well. The egg yolks, butter, and blackberry juice combined to make an opaque dusty rose color that looked utterly revolting.

For my second dough, I decreased the butter content to account for the pecans. I know I had to reduce the liquids, but I loathed the idea of including less bourbon. Luckily I remembered a trick from my mom. She would never buy a bottle of vanilla sugar when custard recipes called for it. Instead, she doused white sugar with copious amounts of vanilla extract and dried it in the oven. That always worked for her, so I poured two ounces of bourbon over 100 grams of white sugar and popped it in the oven. After 5 hours at 150 degrees, the sugar was tan, crumbly and so aromatic. I was short on time after that so I just opened a jar of store-bought blackberry preserves.

I was so pleased with this second batch! I could inhale them, they were so delicious. Sadly they're a big pain to make, so next time I'm craving bourbon, I likely just pour myself a cocktail.

Want to experience Kentucky for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...

Alas, I've been within spitting distance of Kentucky but didn't make it across the bridge. I was in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, photographing a friend's wedding. Between the work, the dancing, and the humidity, I never mustered the energy to cross the border. So based on personal experience, I can only recommend drinking bourbon while listening to the music of Loretta Lynn. I need to get out more.

Time for the whole truth

Tennessee and Missouri border 8 eight states and Kentucky has just 7 neighbors.

(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)

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