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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Recipe: Pate Sablee ("Sandy" Pastry Dough) / Shortbread

Pile of Vanilla and Chocolate Pate Sablee Crumbs

Recipe: Pate Sablee ("Sandy" Pastry Dough) / Shortbread



If Pate Brisee and Pate Sucree are cousins, then Pate Sablee (pronounced paht sah/blay) might be their second cousin, once removed. True, Brisee and Sucree are the dominant players on the pastry dough scene, but Sablee is no less delectable. 

Sweet like Sucree, Pate Sablee gets its name from its "sandy" texture. But don't confuse sandy with gritty. Given the large amount of Butter and Sugar relative to Flour, the baked dough is extremely crumbly. Why?  Because the Butter and Sugar inhibit the formation of gluten. That's right! Pate Sablee is your low-gluten pastry dough alternative (*eye roll*).

But candidly, when evaluated on its own, unassisted by the curds and compotes of Pies and Tarts, Pate Sablee is simply delicious. But that should come as no surprise. Pate Sablee is effectively Shortbread dough, which is why this recipe can just as easily be used for Cookies.


Sheet of Pate Sablee
It's a variation on a theme. The recipe for Pate Sucree introduced a sweet, more Cookie-like pastry dough. Pate Sablee takes it a step further, bumping up the ratio of Butter and Sugar relative to Flour. 

In a Pate Sucree recipe, for every 100g of Flour, there's only 50g of Butter and 25g of SugarBut with Pate Sablee, there's nearly 80g of Butter and 40g of Sugar! 

The extra Butter and Sugar inhibits the formation of gluten, resulting in an extremely crumbly texture. This also means that Pate Sablee is a very forgiving dough when compared to Pate Brisee or Sucree. It's harder to "overwork". And scraps can be rerolled without a significant loss in quality. That said, the dough should still be handled lightly for the best results.

Creamed Butter and Powdered Sugar for Pate Sablee
The dough is mixed using the Creaming Method, exactly like Pate Sucree. Only the ratio of ingredients changes.

Begin by beating the Butter in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed. Continue to beat the Butter until it is soft and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.

Turn off the mixer and add the Powdered Sugar and the Vanilla Extract. Cream the Butter and Powdered Sugar by beating the ingredients on medium speed until they are smooth and homogeneous, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.

Once the Butter and Powdered Sugar are well combined, add the Egg Yolk (Chocolate Version: Whole Egg) and continue mixing until it too is well combined and the ingredients are fully homogeneous. The Egg Yolk will help to emulsify the dough, holding the ingredients in suspension.

Mixed Vanilla Pate Sablee
Once everything is well combined, add the Flour and Salt (Chocolate Version: as well as Cocoa Powder and Baking Soda), and mix the ingredients on low speed until the dough just comes together, scraping the sides of the bowl once.

While the amount of Butter and Sugar in this dough greatly inhibits the formation of gluten, it is still best to avoid over-working the dough.

Mixed Chocolate Pate Sablee
Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a square about 1" thick, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to rest and chill for at least one hour.

Given the high Butter content of Pate Sablee, it is important to work with the dough when it is well chilled. If the dough becomes warm, it will be too soft and difficult to work with. Should the dough be too hard when it is removed from the cold refrigerator, let it temper for a few minutes - it will soften quickly.

When rolling Pate Sablee, if it crumbles, you can easily press it back together. It is considerably more forgiving than Pate Brisee and Pate Sucree.

Pate Sablee can be used as a pastry dough across numerous preparations. It can also be rolled and cut into Shortbread Cookies. Specific baking times and temperatures vary by recipe; however, 1/4" thick Cookies will bake well at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) in about 10 minutes.

Pate Sablee can be stored wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for up to a month. Frozen Pate Sablee should be allowed to temper in the refrigerator before it is used. However, Pate Sablee should always be chilled before using or it will be too soft and difficult to work with.





- The Recipe -



Pate Sablee:


Yield: Each recipe makes 600g - enough for two 8"/9" Tarts or twenty 3" round Cookies


Ingredients (Vanilla):
  • Butter: 225g (1 Cup / 2 Sticks)
  • Powdered Sugar: 120g (1 Cup)
  • Vanilla Extract: 4g (1 Tsp)
  • Egg Yolk: 18g (1x)
  • All Purpose Flour: 270g (2.25 Cups)
  • Salt: 3g (0.5 Tsp)

Ingredients (Chocolate):
  • Butter: 165g (0.75 Cup / 1.5 Sticks)
  • Powdered Sugar: 150g (1.25 Cups)
  • Vanilla Extract: 4g (1 Tsp)
  • Egg: 50g (1x)
  • All Purpose Flour: 210g (1.75 Cups)
  • Cocoa Powder: 45g (6 Tbls)
  • Baking Soda: 3g (0.5 Tsp)
  • Salt: 3g (0.5 Tsp)



Directions:

1. Place the Butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the Butter smooth, scraping down the bowl at least once. Add the Powdered Sugar and Vanilla Extract. Cream the Butter, Sugar and Vanilla Extract until the ingredients are smooth and homogeneous, scraping down the bowl at least once.

2. Add the Egg Yolk (Chocolate Version: Whole Egg) and continue to beat the mixture until the Egg is well emulsified.

3. With the mixer on low speed, add the Flour and Salt (Chocolate Version: add the sifted Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda and Salt). Mix the ingredients until the dough just comes together.

Chef's Note: The amount of Butter and Sugar relative to Flour in this recipe greatly inhibits the formation of gluten, so it is harder to overwork. Scraps of the dough can be rerolled without a significant loss in quality. Nevertheless, it is still best to handle the dough lightly.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a square about 1" thick, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to rest and chill for at least one hour.

Chef's Note: When working with the dough, alway make sure that it is well chilled. If the dough becomes warm, it will be too soft and difficult to work with.

Storage:
- Pate Sablee can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for a week of frozen for up to a month. Frozen dough should be allowed to temper in the refrigerator before it is used. However, Pate Sablee should always be chilled before using or it will be too soft and difficult to work with.


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