March 29, 2012
I was finally able to participate again this month with Abby Dodge for the monthly “Baketogether! She has presented another fabulous recipe that turns a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie into an elegant, savory, and versatile sable. I served these sables with grapes, sharp cheddar chunks, plum ginger apricot jam, and fresh brewed coffee for a mid-afternoon reprieve. Abby serves these up with wine and cocktails! I made just a few changes to the original recipe to change it up a bit, and I was very pleased with the results. I just happen to be growing some Lemon Basil and thought that would be a great subsitution for the chopped fresh thyme in the original recipe. I also subsituted Kerrygold Irish Cheddar for the classic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I love the ease of this recipe and the results are stunning. Once you taste these, you will never want to place a hunk of cheese on a store-bought cracker, I can tell you that! Abby uses a classic technique called fraisage which calls for very little handling of the dough (to create those layers of melt-in-your-mouth greatness) and then uses a simple dough scraper to shape the dough into a log for slicing after the dough is chilled. For the original recipe and Abby’s step by step instructional photos, please visit her blog here.
I invite everyone to visit Abby’s Blog. She is a former pastry chef, she studied at La Varenne in Paris, has authored seven books…she is amazing and she inspires me to be better! If you would like to join the Baketogether, please subscribe to Abby’s updates so that you can get yourself in the “know”. You will get to join a friendly community of bakers and bloggers, and she makes it so easy to add your version and results to the roundup. Below is the recipe, and I have incorporated the small changes I made here in case you would like to try my version. If you have never used this technique, please visit Abby’s blog page as she took the time to post up some great photos with a step by step instructional.
Spicy Cheddar Sables
Makes 29 sables.
■1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) all purpose flour
■1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Irish KerryGold Cheddar
■1 teaspoon table salt
■3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh lemon basil
■1/8 teaspoon (or more to taste) ground cayenne pepper (I only used 1/8 tsp)
■8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 7 slices, well chilled
■2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons very cold water (I used an ice cube in my water to get it chilled quickly)
To make the dough:
1. Put the flour, cheese, salt, lemon basil and cayenne in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are slightly larger than pea size, about 10 to 12 pulses depending on your machine. Drizzle the water evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form moist crumbs that are just beginning to clump together, about 8 or 9 more pulses depending on your machine.
2. Dump the moist crumbs onto the unfloured counter and gather into a pile. With the heel of you hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. Two or three ‘smears’ should do the trick. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees and give it one or two more smears. Gather the dough together and shape the dough into a 7 1/4-inch long and 2 1/4 -inch wide rectangle using the bench scraper to make the sides nice and straight. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days.
3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/4-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart (they don’t spread much at all) on the prepared sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, until nutty brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes. If you like, sprinkle the crackers with a little kosher salt just as the baking sheets come out of the oven. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.
4. The dough can be shaped and frozen for up to a month and then thawed for about an hour on the counter or in the refrigerator overnight. Likewise, tuck the baked and cooled sables in a heavy duty zip top bag and stash them in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature and warm them for a few minutes at 325°F to refresh the flavors.
Abby makes note that it is important to bake these until the edges are brown or you can come out with a sable that lacks crisp texture and flavor.