Friday 23 May 2008


So what does the ever-thrifty French housewife do with the scraps of pâte she is left with after making an apple shortcake?

Well, she could make a little batch of sablés, like I did.

Sablés are a plain butter cookie that can be consumed as they are with coffee or sandwiched into pairs with the likes of lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut spread or ganache. They are completely ubiquitous in France, and every family has their own recipe. The word 'sable' means 'sand', so the name refers to their 'sandiness' (which doesn't sound promising, so think 'crumbliness' instead). They are very 'short' - in cooking parlance - which means a high ratio of fat to flour, giving you a very soft pastry that tears easily and once cooked, has a soft, crumbly, melt in the mouth texture, a bit like Scottish shortbread.

You may be interested to know that one also 'sable le champagne' (breaks open the champagne).



Katarina said...

Hi Susan,
I found your blog very recently and I admire you for your motivation of buying and old house and restoring it. I am also a stranger living in France, near Paris :)
Maybe you can be interested in this article
which explains the difference between "sabrer le champagne" (swording) and "sabler"...

Anonymous said...

How delicious they look, and how delicately browned around the edges. Can you email me one?

Susan said...

Katarina - the web reference you give is excellent - I particularly liked the way the technique is described as 'quite easy' but that spectators may feel differently about it if the sabre operator is inept. Now that you remind me, I did know about this, but got it a bit mixed up here. Cul sec :-)

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