Pâte sablée, or also referred to as sablée pastry, is the most delicious of all the pastries out there. It’s incredibly light, has a beautiful golden colour when baked and melts in your mouth ever so slowly.
It’s an easy pastry to prepare and unlike other pastry types, you’ll have to REALLY overwork it for it to result in a tough, chewy pastry. Sablée contains a lot of fat, which prevents gluten from developing, so you can work this pastry quite a bit without it becoming stretchy and tough. No water is added in the preparation of sablée, which also assists in the prevention of gluten development.
Sablée pastry is a French pastry, probably made famous by world renown Michel Roux, pastry chef extraordinaire who forms part of the infamous Roux Brothers of Le Gavroche in London. It can be used for everything from pecan nut tarts to sables, which are these incredibly light and tasty little biscuits, often used as an addition to other desserts. It’s been used as the base for cheesecakes, empty shells that can be filled with mousses and even small shaped biscuits to be served with tea.
The secret to sablée pastry definitely lies in the butter. Once again butter adds that special something to the final product that simply won’t be able to achieve through anything else. If you truly want the full, exceptional taste and flavour of what sablée can be, stay away from substitutes like margarine. Butter is the ultimate success in the process of pastry making.
To make a batch of sablée pastry that will be enough for one large tart, and by large tart we mean about 23 cm – enough for round about 10 servings – you will need:
- 300 g flour
- 150 g butter, cut into small blocks
- 2 egg yolks
- 60 g icing sugar
And to prepare the pastry:
- Place the butter into the bowl of a standing mixer then sieve the flour and icing into the bowl.
- Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together to resemble breadcrumbs when done (can also be done by hand).
- Add the egg yolks and mix for another 30 seconds until just combined and a firm paste is formed.
- The pastry is ready to be wrapped in cling film and refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before using to line tart tins.
Sablée pastry can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days and be used immediately out of the fridge. Just give it a gentle knead – not too much, because you don’t want to it get warm. In the freezer, sablée can be stored for up to 3 weeks. A handy tip is to divide the pastry into fairly small portions before freezing. This assists in faster thawing – which should be done in the fridge.
Sablée is light enough that blind baking – the process of baking a pastry lined tart tin that is filled with either dried or ceramic baking beans – is just about never necessary. It’s recommended to always blind bake if the tart you’re baking has a very delicate filling or if the tart is fairly deep. Sablée pastry, however, bakes quickly and is perfect to use with any type of tart.
Try baking a scrumptious tart using sablée pastry and confirm for yourself just how incredibly lovely this buttery pastry is.
Featured image: Meilleur Du Chef, n.d., Rich Shortcrust Pastry (Pâte sablée), viewed on 16 July 2014, from http://www.meilleurduchef.com/cgi/mdc/l/en/recipe/rich-shortcrust-pastry.html