Sablés viennois by Pierre Hermé

Sablés viennois by Pierre Hermé

I think I never had so many pastries as at the time I first came to Paris. It was normal, though, because you simply cannot resist all the beautifully looking desserts and viennoiseries lurking from almost every window shop you pass by. Several years later, I am no longer as easily tempted as I understood that not everything that looks incredibly good tastes incredibly also. I would even say that most of desserts I see at the bakeries or even at the stores of certain renowned pastry chefs do not allure me as before. However, there are undisputed exceptions and one of my favourite pastry chefs still is the Picasso of pastry (as Vogue called him), Pierre Hermé. Hermé is the author of several pasty books and I am a proud owner of Le Larousse des Desserts that features incredible and sometimes demanding recipes.

A couple of years ago, I flipped several of his other books and noted two beautiful recipes I shared back then on one of Croatian culinary websites. Today I’m gonna share them here. These are the recipes for buttery French sablés biscuits. They are actually very similar, one for plain butter sablés and another for cacao flavoured ones. Sablés are crispy butter based biscuits that have a specific sandy texture and a light salty flavour. The legend of their creation dates back to the French history, in the 17th century. Today these kind of biscuits are extremely popular and can come in variety of shapes, although the most common are the traditional simple round biscuits. One of the most known are the galettes bretonnes or the round sablés biscuits from Brittany region.

Sablés viennois by Pierre Hermé-1

PH’s recipe reminds tremendously of those old Danish butter cookies (you’ll probably remember the tin metal boxes that serve as sewing boxes to our grandmothers). The sablés are buttery, airy and very fragile due to their light texture. I vividly remember making these cookies for the first time without a piping bag, trying to form the round shapes in my hands with the sticky batter. They bake quickly and are best eaten when cooled down. I recommend using the piping bag but if I managed to do it by hands you will also if you don’t have one.

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Sablés viennois by Pierre Hermé

Makes
aproximately 40 sablés

Ingredients:

95 g butter
15 g egg white (aproximately 1 small egg white)
115 g flour
40 g powdered sugar
scraped seeds from one vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)
pinch of salt

Preparation:

    • Mix the butter with salt until the butter is creamy. Add sugar and vanilla seeds and whisk again to obtain a homogenous, creamy mixture.
    • Whisk separately the egg white and blend it in the butter mixture.
    • Add the flour and gently mix until you obtain a homogenous batter.
    • Put the batter into the piping bag and pipe the batter directly onto the baking paper. If you don’t posses a piping bag you can take a spoonful of batter and form a 3 cm wide patties.
    • Bake for no more than 10-12 minutes (depending on the shape and thickness of the cookie) at 180°C.

Cacao Sablés viennois by Pierre Hermé

Makes
aproximately 70 sablés

Ingredients:

250 g butter
260 g flour
30 g cacao powder
100 g powdered sugar
3 spoons of egg white
pinch of salt

Preparation:

  • Mix throughly flour with cacao powder.
  • In another bowl mix the butter with salt until the butter is creamy. Add sugar and vanilla grains and whisk again to obtain a homogenous, creamy mixture.
  • Whisk separately the egg white, measure 3 spoons and blend in the butter mixture.
  • Add the flour and gently mix until you obtain a homogenous batter.
  • Put the batter into the piping bag and pipe the batter directly onto the baking paper.
  • Bake for no more than 10-12 minutes (depending on the shape and thickness of the cookie) at 180°C.

Some extra advice:
To be sure the cookies turn out light and airy don’t mix the batter too much.
If you are the kind of a person that usually reduces the amount of sugar from the recipes (I always do but it doesn’t turn out well everytime), don’t do it here. The amount of sugar is just right for the perfect harmony of taste.

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