Wednesday 7 November 2007
[Just like Pierre Hermé's - Black olive shortbreads]
Remember the day when I said I would write about my internship at Pierre Hermé’s pâtisserie on a weekly basis? Well, I seem to have forgotten that last part: weekly basis…
I have to admit I’ve been doing really bad. Out of ten terrific weeks, I managed to write two articles. Just two.
I had high hopes though. I intented to tell you about how I got to taste the bûches de Noël and new macarons months before their official release at the palace Crillon. I also meant to write about the awesome two weeks I spent au tour, making doughs, pâtes feuilletées, sucrées et à foncer*.
Oh those two weeks…certainly the best at Pierre Hermé Paris. It is probably where I learnt the most, but my sweetest memory has nothing to do with the techniques Guilhem taught me. Three words: sablés aux olives.
I think I spent hours (and yes, I do mean hours) cutting out 5,5cm-wide disks out of the amazingly smooth yet speckled with crushed black olives dough. The pâte à sablés was so fragrant that as soon as I took it out of the fridge, it filled the room with a strong and delightful olive perfume.
The dough was then rolled, détaillée, arranged into small silicon moulds and baked. Possibly the best cookies I’ve ever had: sweet yet pleasantly salty and perfectly short-textured.
I left Paris with one obsession: making those cookies at home. And so did I. Once, then twice… As you can imagine they quickly became my go-to recipe.
* I promise I’ll try to whip up some posts about those weeks ate Pierre Hermé Paris.
Sablés aux olives noires comme chez Pierre Hermé
Adapted from Pierre Hermé and Julie Andrieu’s Confidences sucrées
I recently bought Pierre Hermé’s new cookbook, co-written with French food writer Julie Andrieu and it appears to be a great book.
Pierre Hermé reveals some of his signature recipes: macarons passion, tarte tango, cake ispahan or sablés aux olives noires; just to name a few.
The recipe for the sablés is the same as the one used at the laboratoire, but is so straightforward that you can easily make it at home.
First, you start by hard-boiling an egg. This might seem weird to you, but you’re only gong to keep the hard yolk, finely grate it and incorporate it into the dough. The use of cooked egg yolk is traditional in Alsace and gives a light and crisp texture.
Then you mix the butter, olive oil and sugar, in which the egg yolk goes. Finally, to rapidly fold in the flour and starch, and crushed black olives.
The key is to mix the dough just until it comes together. Then you have to work fast: roll it and chill overnight. Pierre Hermé suggests refrigerating the dough before rolling it out; but I always find it too hard to roll when too cold; so I chose to roll the dough just after it’s been made, taking care not to overwork it.
At the laboratoire, the sablés are baked in small silicon moulds. Sadly, I don’t have any at home so I went for my muffin tins and it makes wonders. I guess you could also bake them on a lined baking sheet, they just wouldn’t be as regular-looking.
Note that you should use high-quality olives. I love taggiasche olives, which have a fine flavour. Please do not use Greek olives as they’re far too dry for these sablés.
The recipe can easily be halved; just make sure you don’t overwork the dough and you’ll be just fine.
Sablés aux olives noires
makes 60 biscuits
400g high-quality salted butter, at room temperature
150ml fruity olive oil
220g icing sugar
100g potato starch
140g black olives
Boil the egg until hard: ten minutes or so. Once cooked, discard the shell and white and keep the yolk aside.
With a sharp knife, roughly cut the olives.
Mix the butter, olive oil, sugar and grated cooked egg yolk. Quickly fold in the flour and starch, and mix until the dough comes together.
Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper, until 6mm thick and chill overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C. Use a 55mm round cookie-cutter to form small disks of dough. Arrange disks into a muffin tin (you’ll have to bake it in several batches, unless you have a 60-bun muffin tin).
Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool and unmould.
These sablés keep well in an airtight tin for 6 weeks.