Of course you can also make these sablés with plain all-purpose flour and white sugar. And they might even rise more. But they were very tasty with the low-gluten spelt or gluten-free buckwheat flour and light brown or panela (rapadura) unrefined whole cane sugar. Even if I wasn’t trying to be health-conscious I’d pick them for flavoursomeness. The nutty spelt or buckwheat and slightly caramel-like panela work together to create an extremely tasty shortbread. I’m still going to call them sablés bretons, okay maybe healthier sablés or palets bretons because they’re made with the same process and are little round biscuits with salted butter and that lovely crumbly texture. Because as you know sablé means sandy. Hmmm. ‘sandy biscuits from Brittany’ not sounding very tempting…? Actually they really are addictive. I’ve been making them as cake bases and it’s so hard to stop ‘testing’ (yes, eating) them. Somehow I found myself making multiple batches. Lol. Fortunately they’re really easy to make so give them a go and have a few with a cup of tea! 🙂
The recipe – for 10 cake or tart rings (8cm/3in diametre)
This is an adaptation of various recipes I’ve seen as well as the result of some kitchen experiments and ‘testing’.
Equipment: if you just want biscuits (not precise cake bases) you can also use a muffin mould . If you bake the big sablés freestyle with no mould they spread out and don’t rise so much or develop such a nice crumbly structure.
Preparation: lightly butter your cake/tart rings and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- 2 egg yolks (40g) from medium-sized eggs, beaten and at room temperature (some recipes have more egg yolk so you could also try with 3)
- 100g/1/2 cup less 3 teaspoons caster/superfine sugar or 2/3 cup granulated sugar, panela (rapadura) or light brown sugar
- 150g/1 and 1/3 stick softened semi-salted butter (good-quality like the Président brand), whisked to beurre pommade (texture of hair cream)
- 230g/2 cups less 1 tbsp plain/all-purpose or cake flour, options: buckwheat (2 cups less 1/2 tbsp) or fine white spelt flour (2 cups less 1 tbsp)
- 10g/2 teaspoons baking powder
- from two pinches to 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste (1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon if using unsalted butter)
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and pale.
- Whisk in the softened creamed butter a little at a time until light and fluffy.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and sea salt together then sieve over the mixture.
- Fold and stir to combine. Don’t overwork.
- Make a ball. If it’s very sticky and difficult to make a ball place the bowl in the fridge around 5 minutes to firm it up a bit.
- Cover the ball in plastic film and chill for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
- Roll out the pastry to 4 or 5 mm high between 2 sheets of baking paper (lightly floured). Cut circles with your tart or cake rings. I made mine thinner because I wanted them as cake bases but if you’d like them thicker like in many google photos then make them 6mm-1cm thick (you’ll have fewer sablés and need to bake longer).
- Leave the circles of pastry in the rings and place on your baking tray lined with baking paper. Put the palm of your hand underneath to transport to the tray (you can make rolls with leftover pastry, chill well then cut small cookie slices to bake). Note: the pastry can be quite difficult to handle so if it’s too soft just chill it in the fridge (maybe try rolling it out between the baking paper then chilling it before doing the next step).
- Keep in the fridge for another hour or two to firm up. If the sablés are soft when they go in the oven they won’t come out as crispy and crumbly so leave them in the fridge until they look firm.
- When they’re almost ready pre-heat the oven to 170°C/340°F (static, non-convection oven) or 150°C/300°F (fan-assisted, convection oven).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and slightly risen. I found if baked for 15 to 20 minutes mine stayed a little soft in the middle (which does make them easier to eat and cut into as cake bases). After 25 minutes they looked a bit dark around the sides but were crispier.
- Take off the baking tray immediately and take off the rings immediately (cut around the sides with a sharp knife if necessary). Leave to cool on a wire rack and they’ll start hardening. Note: I once waited till they were cool before taking out of the moulds and because they’d become hard they started breaking and crumbling.
Sablés bretons diamants (little sablés)
With leftover pastry you can make little biscuits. Make them quite thick and make sure they’re chilled before cutting or baking. Bake for less time, around 10-15 minutes. Sorry there’s no photo of the baked ones – I kind of ate them all… ! Ooops…
The sablés bretons keep in an airtight tin for up to 4 or 5 days and apparently they freeze really well too.
Get some mousse domes ready.
Or put the kettle on. Teatime!
Yum yum. 🙂