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Pâte Sablée Recipes


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When a friend and I were took our pastry classes some years ago, we were taught a dough described as "pate sablee" which was simply a sweetended pate brisee, using cold ingredients, the brisee method, but including a few tablespoons of sugar. In researching pate sablee recently, we find that formulae very but that most seem to use the creaming method and include egg yolks.

I've checked several of my reference books and a few don't mention sablee at all. "Professional Baking", 3rd Ed., Cordon Bleu does and has an egg inclusive formula.

How were you taught pate sablee? Does anyone recognize a sweetened pate brisee as something specific?

Looking forward to your responses.

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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Sweetened brisée is usually called pate sucrée. Sablée means "sandy" ... it's usually a whole different animal. I guess you could debate if a traditional sablée is even really pastry. It's more like a cookie dough. Sablées are made like you describe, with creamed ingredients,or at least thoroughly mixed flour and fat, and a texture more like a sugar cookie or a fig newton.

The sablée recipes I've seen have eggs in them, but I'm not sure if they all do. Eggs are an optional ingredient in brisée and sucré doughs.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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Sweetened brisée is usually called pate sucrée. Sablée means "sandy" ... it's usually a whole different animal. I guess you could debate if a traditional sablée is even really pastry. It's more like a cookie dough. Sablées are made like you describe, with creamed ingredients,or at least thoroughly mixed flour and fat, and a texture more like a sugar cookie or a fig newton.

The sablée recipes I've seen have eggs in them, but I'm not sure if they all do. Eggs are an optional ingredient in brisée and sucré doughs.

I should have made note of pate sucree in my original post. Sucree and brisee use 2 distinct methods, sucree with the creaming method brisee with a cold method which makes something akin to a quick or "rough" laminated dough.

It's interesting that you've seen brisee with eggs. I've never encountered that. I'll have to research that.

Thanks for the post.

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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I can add to the egg question. When I do a recipe, I look through all my books and list their ratios to see what overall patterns turn up. For "sable breton" I have 9 recipes--San Francisco Baking Institute, S. Glazier, Herme, Galloyer, LaRousse Des Desserts, LaRousse, Professional French Pastry Series (2), Healy--6 call for yolk, 3 call for egg, all using eggs. Unfortunately, I didn't note methods.

Just now taking a quick look, the Professional French Pastry Series recognizes 1. pate a foncer, always with sablage method; 2. pate sucree, either the sablage or the creaming method; and 3. pate sablee, usually the sablage method. The PFPS describes sablage as coating the flour with fat before adding the liquids; creaming as mixing liquids with fat, then adding the flour.

The LaRousse des Desserts, Herme, recognizes 1. pate brisee aka pate a foncer, with yolk, with a creaming method; 2. pate brisee, without egg, with a creaming method; 3. pate sablee with a sablage method; 4. pate sucree with a creaming method. Beyond methods of the order in which you add the ingredients, the pate brisee is mixed using the heel of the hand to smear the dough until homogenized. The pate sablee is worked with the fingertips until mixed but not too well mixed.The pate a foncer and pate sucree are just mixed with a wooden spoon or spatula to well incorporated.

Lebowits--I enjoyed responding to your question--it got me thinking more clearly about these doughs.

Edited by Mary Elizabeth (log)
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I should have made note of pate sucree in my original post.  Sucree and brisee use 2 distinct methods, sucree with the creaming method brisee with a cold method which makes something akin to a quick or "rough" laminated dough.

I've done some research on this topic. So far I've never come across a sablee recipe that's similar to a sweetened pate brissee, but many sucree recipes that are.

The recipes that describe pate sucree as being made from creamed butter and sugar are essentially identical to pate sablee.

This is likely the original definition of pate sucree; traditionally there may have been no such thing as pate sablee ... I'm not sure when the term first arrived.

Looking at Larousse Gastronomique (1st english language edition), there's no mention of sablee, but sucree follows the creaming method.

Looking farther back, to Escoffier, basically all the pastries (including brisee) are made by this method. The ones that don't fully incorporate the butter into the flour are the truly laminated pastries (feullettee, etc.).

So, it seems that there's been some evolution not just in the terminology but in the pastry itself. What used to be called sucree seems now to be called sablee. Which means that sucree has at least in some cases morphed into something else. The usage I've seen that isn't redundant with sablee, is basically a sweetened version of pate brisee.

Does this make any sense?

The real conclusion is that the methods and names have not stayed consistent over the years. Nowadays they mean different things to different people. But if you're looking for a distinction between sablee and sucree, I've found that sablee always refers to sugar and butter getting creamed together, while sucree sometimes refers to the same thing and other times refers to a sweetened brisee.

Some of my recipes and notes on different pastry doughs for tart shells can be downloaded here.

Edited to add:

Mary Elizabeth is adding to the confusion by showing sablee recipes that aren't creamed!

I'm aware of Herme's recipes, but haven't included them in this discussion because he's usually doing his own thing ... I generally assume his recipes aren't examples of anything traditional.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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Couldn't one approach this in a slightly different way? Surely the starting point is what sort of stuff the stuff should be; the technique to get there is to some extent secondary (though, of course, the two will be related).

On that basis, as I understand it (based on reading a book, I think Anne Willan's French Cookery School, about 30 years ago) and of course on eating the stuff:

Brisee ("broken" pastry) is "standard" pie/tart pastry, unsweetened. The aim (in France) is to produce a crisp (not a soft or flaky) pastry. Either method may be used to produce this depending on personal preference for the characteristics of the final product (there may be something in the idea that there has been a change over time)--and perhaps it depends somewhat on personal preference. There is or was, I think, a real difference between the "ideal" of the French crisp crust and the Anglo American (especially American) "light" crust which is supposed to be somewhat flaky--as is suggested by the idea that brisee is "broken", i.e. briefly but definitely kneaded to amalgamate all the ingredients thoroughly.

Sucree ("sweetened" pastry) is a somewhat sweetened brisee. It essentially has all the characteristics of brisee, but with the addition of a small amount of sugar in order to make it sit comfortably with sweet fillings. But it is still intended, like brisee, to be a more-or-less neutral (though still delicious, of course) container for something else. Again either method can be used to produce this--a creaming method will tend to produce pastry at the crisp end, a rubbing method to produce pastry on the flaky side.

Sablee ("sandy" pastry) is much sweeter. Rather than being robustly crisp it is intended to be crumbly, friable. In anglo-american terms, it most closely resembles Scottish shortbread. Like shortbread it can (and is) sometimes prepared an eaten alone (as a cookie) as well as to make cases, and is generally regarded as showcasing the butter. For that reason, and because of the amount of butter, it is not unlikely to contain a slightly higher proportion of butter than brisee or sucree too. These characteristics, and the desired final result, make creaming the pretty much universal method of choice, as it is for shortbread.

In summary:

Brisee ("broken") paste = unsweetened pastry; exclusively intended for use as a "container"; generally speaking the (French) objective is to be crisp and robust rather than notably flaky. Either method can achieve that result.

Sucree ("sweetened") paste = same objectives as brisee but with the addition of some sugar for use in sweet tarts (and same possible techniques, possibly with slight preference for creaming to dissolve/distribute sugar better, growing stronger as proportion of sugar increases).

Sablee ("sandy") paste = a highly sweetened dough, much more assertive in itself than sucree, used either as a component or on its own. Aim is to be friable and sandy. Generally creamed.

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I don't think there is one answer -- I have encountered pate sablee that falls in both categories: a slightly sweetened sablage method dough, and a doughier pastry tenderized by sugar and eggs (creamed). Then there is the hybrid of flour/sugar/butter sablage with eggs.

To my mind, pate brisee is slightly undermixed to leave distinct pieces of butter in the dough, producing a crisp, open-crumbed crust; sucree may be sablage but with complete fat incorporation, and fresaged on the counter to blend completely (producing a mealy, short dough, relatively sturdy); and sablee creamed and the most delicate, to be more like a cookie dough and unrollable until chilled.

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  • 12 years later...

Hello, new person here, just joined! Hoping to improve my limited baking skills.

 

Not exactly responding to the topic but since I’ve noticed that you referenced the three different pâtes, I thought I’d ask. I come across recipes which clearly are making a pâté brisée but they add an egg yolk. How does that affect the texture of the pâte?


Thank you!

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I'm not much of a baker, so if I wanted to learn a particular type of crust I would start with Julia Child's recipe. My husband does most all the baking in our house. Mostly he bakes bread, but when challenged to make pie he started with Julia Child's pate brisee. I assume her recipe for pate sablee is easy to find. Oh, and welcome.

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On 2/1/2021 at 4:18 PM, HélèneJ said:

I come across recipes which clearly are making a pâté brisée but they add an egg yolk. How does that affect the texture of the pâte?

 

It's there usually for extra security with wetter filings 

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Thanks weinoo, really nice.  I cannot remember anything about it (what and why....not a whole lot left!), but with respect to ratios, sucree more sugar balanced relative to fat, and the opposite for Sablée, this lends certain properties I can’t recall. (?)

 

I dock  sucree for blind baking.  Is the advice against it because of more liquid fillings (e.g. curd)?

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)
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-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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