How many Swiss millionaires are there?
Per capita, Switzerland has the most in the world—one in 8.6, or 12% of the population, according to the Credit Suisse Global Welath Databook 2016. This is by no means the most millionaires overall, that designation goes to the US with over 15 million millionaires, about 6% of the population and more than the next 8 countries combined.
It isn't just the Swiss themselves, or celebrities like Tina Turner and Shania Twain, Switzerland is a haven for plenty of foreign born million- and billionaires who want to enjoy the high quality of life, relatively low taxes, and privacy that the country offers.
But enough about those millionaires, and on to the good stuff: millionaire's shortbread.
A couple of weeks ago millionaire's shortbread featured as the signature bake on the Great British Bake Off. Contestants put their own touch on this classic British traybake with a shortbread base, caramel middle, and chocolate top. It was Sam, fellow GBBO aficionado, who suggested Swissifying it by adding Birnenhonig.
We, along with millions of Britons, have been watching the series faithfully through the years. As far as reality culinary shows go, its mix of earnest participation and a refreshing lack of snarkiness make it a real joy to watch.
Switzerland has an equally polite reality cooking show: Landfrauenküche. Landfrauen are typically the wives of farmers, who take up many of the domestic responsibilities around the house—notably the cooking. Whatever your opinion on women's role in the home and society, you surely can't fault their good natured spirit and excellence in the kitchen.
The show works like this: each week a different Landfrau is featured. All of the other contestants take an old PostAuto to her home, typically a farm. Once there, the Landfrau plays hostess, serving a three course meal which is then anonymously rated by the other contestants. The program doesn't only focus on the preparation and serving of this meal, but also the week leading up to it and life at home in general, family, pets, farm life, whatever. Often the women wear the Tracht (customary dress) of their Heimat, though some contestants, like Janine Fischer (originally a Canadian, who has lived in Switzerland for 30 years and has the craziest English-Swiss accent I've ever heard) don't. At the end, the votes are counted and the winner is named.
225 g flour
75 g sugar
1 tsp salt
175 g butter
150 g butter
about 400 g (one tin) condensed milk
100 g Birnenhonig
300 g dark chocolate
50 g white chocolate (to decorate)
Preheat your oven to 150 C / 325 F / gas mark 3.
Line a 23 cm / 9 inch square tart pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter in pieces and used your fingers to rub it in until it's sandy.
Press it into your baking form and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until it is slightly golden. Let cool.
Meanwhile, make the caramel. In a large pot, bring the the butter, condensed milk, and birnenhonig to a boil while whisking. Whisk for a couple of minutes until the mixture is a light brown colour. Take off the heat and let cool.
For the chocolate, put a large pot of water over medium low heat and set a large bowl on top (stainless steel works best). The bowl should not touch the water. When the water starts to simmer, turn down the heat and add the dark chocolate to the bowl on top. Once the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and let it cool.
Once cooled, spread the chocolate over the caramel.
You can decorate how you like—I used white chocolate, but you could also keep it plain. To get an overall marbled effect, you can just pipe little blobs of white chocolate all over and then swirl it with a paring knife. I have channelled my Swissness and carefully put the blobs in rows, dragging the knife tip carefully through.
There is a lot of debate around the perfect ration of shortbread to caramel to chocolate. Personally, this version hits all the buttons for me. A big hit of shortbread, and about equal parts caramel and chocolate.
Let the caramel cool before pouring the melted chocolate over, so that it doesn't just melt in.