Sablés with strawberry preserve

The problem with trying to make perfect macarons is that a lot of eggs get used in the process. That's fine but when the yolks start piling up, what does one do with them? What's the point of making tubs of macaron fillings when your macs do not look like they are worthy of any filling?

That's when I came across this recipe for palets bretons, a thicker version of sablés that look like mini cupcakes. Jill Colonna's blog Mad About Macarons has a recipe that calls for 4 yolks! A sablé is a shortbread biscuit, French in origin and has a sandy texture because the butter is rubbed in. Two things got me interested in trying out the recipe - lack of butter from Brittany(!!!) and that the recipe called for fleur-de-sel or sea salt, which I have started using for all my bakes. Well, now to see how well local butter would do the job.

Jill's recipe for the biscuits asked for the butter to be creamed with sugar and salt. In fact, the recipe seemed more cake than shortbread.

Once the butter and sugar were beaten and yolks and flour added, the mixture seemed quite firm. A quick decision was made to divide them into 18 balls and press them into lined patty tins instead of shaping and chilling them as the recipe stated. My tins were larger than the size the recipe asked for, a foregone conclusion that the pretty shape in the recipe would not happen to mine.  

Right about then I decided to fill them with strawberry preserve. A friend from Coonoor had given me a bottle of organic preserve that her cooperative had made. Each of the sablés was topped with half a teaspoonful and then baked.

Freshly baked, they were soft, cakey in texture. The jam was a beautiful addition. By the second day, the biscuits became a little crumbly and had the texture of sablés. The grains of salt cut into the sweetness and that jam was the perfect finish. There was a slight smell of egg when we ate it hot out of the oven but by the next day, it had gone.

This is the original recipe as I feel it bakes into a lovely product. I'm sure if I'd used butter from Brittany or any French butter, it would have tasted spectacular. However, it's a good way to use up spare egg yolks - or leave you with egg whites to make more macs!!

Sablés with strawberry preserve (adapted from here)

180 gm soft butter, unsalted
150 gm sugar
1/2 tsp fleur-de sel or any salt
4 egg yolks
250 gm plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder
Strawberry preserve

Sieve together the flour and baking powder.
Use an electric beater to beat together butter, sugar and salt till creamy.
Mix in the egg yolks followed by the flour.
Combine the dough into a ball, divide into 18.
Fit each into a lined patty tin, make a small hole in the centre of each and fill with a half spoon of preserve.
Bake in a preheated 175°C for about 20 minutes or till the sablés are a light golden colour.
Remove from the tins and cool on a rack.


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