Pierre Hermé again? Two weeks ago for French Fridays with Dorie, we made an ispahan loaf cake inspired by Pierre Hermé. If you recall how much I enjoyed that cake (not), you can appreciate my trepidation about this week’s recipe. On the other hand, I’m a HUGE fan of slice-and-bake goodies. So, I took on this week’s challenge with an open mind.
You might be thinking, what are olive sablés? Aren’t sablés like shortbread, and isn’t shortbread a cookie? But, olives, they’re salty. Well, yes, that’s all true. The preparation of these sablés was like making icebox cookies with a few exceptions. The butter gets creamed until light and fluffy. In the first twist, a healthy dose of fruity olive oil is added. You also add a grated hard-boiled egg yolk, which is common to Austrian baking; another interesting twist. The other steps are all what you would expect for a cookie: lots of powdered sugar, flour, potato starch (another unusual ingredient) and vanilla. The result so far is a soft and sticky cookie dough.
It’s the final step that moves this treat to the savory camp. Chopped oil-cured olives! This happens to be an ingredient I love. As you know, my husband Howard doesn’t like sweet ingredients in his savory food. Oil-cured olives are my usual substitute for raisins or other dried fruit when the recipe will suffer from a straight-out omission. I use the Pastene brand of oil-cured olives, imported from Morocco. Their fruity flavor and soft, somewhat sticky, texture works every time. These olives worked well in the sablés. They were definitely salty, but fruity too.
The dough is shaped into rolls and chilled overnight. I sliced one roll before dinner and baked them until firm. The olive sablés were a delightful accompaniment to what were to be our pre-dinner nibbles, but ended up just being dinner. We also had an assortment of cheese and this delicious fennel and bean dip.
Two thumbs up (mine and Howard’s) for this one. We had a lengthy discussion about how to describe them. It’s confusing. They aren’t really cookies because they aren’t for dessert, and yet, they aren’t really crackers either. No matter, either way, they are delicious. (I’d love to see the look on someone’s face who didn’t know the secret ingredient. If you didn’t know any better, I think you’d think you were eating a chocolate chip cookie!)
I have two more rolls to bake later. I plan to stash them in the freezer and enjoy them in the coming weeks. To me, that’s the magic of slice-and-bake. The work is already done, and it’s nearly instant gratification when you want to treat yourself to some homemade goodness.
For this recipe you use the yolk of one hard-boiled egg. Dorie says to discard the white, but I hate to waste. What can you do with one hard-boiled egg white? My solution was to hard boil a total of 5 eggs, one for this recipe plus 4 more, and make egg salad, adding one extra white. Egg salad brings back childhood memories for me, so egg salad for lunch this week is an added bonus. Indeed, April is off to a good start!
If you’d like to try these yourself, you can find the recipe here. And, you can always find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To read about my fellow bloggers’ sablés, check out their links here.
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was a nice surprise. Cheesy crème brulée is a savory twist the classic. No sugar added, with grated cheese serving as the brulée.
This recipe was very simple to put together. Hot milk and cream is slowly whisked into beaten egg yolks. The custard is poured over tiny chunks of cheese arranged in baking dishes. Dorie recommended Parmesan and Comté (the French version of Gruyère), with cheddar suggested as an acceptable substitute. I used a new blended cheese I’ve been enjoying from Trader Joe’s. It’s a mélange of Cheddar and Gruyère. It hit the spot. It’s great for snacking too!
The custards are baked in a low oven. The recipe’s cooking time didn’t work for me. After 50 minutes at 200F, the custard was still more liquid than set, but I turned the temperature up to 250F, and they were fully cooked in just 10 more minutes. A generous sprinkle of cheese on top and a few minutes under a hot broiler, et voilà, brulée (though I probably should have let them go a couple of minutes longer…)
I used this recipe as an excuse for some new baking dishes. I planned to get a set of what I think of as classic crème brulée dishes, white porcelain, shallower than ramekins, with a fluted edge. The store I went to was out of them, though the guy at the store said he could get them for me “in a few days”. I couldn’t wait, but did find these 3-inch square baking dishes with the right depth. My cheesy crème brulées looked très elegante, and I anticipate using these dishes again and again.
I love anything creamy or cheesy. This appetizer being both, it was no surprise that I enjoyed it. I particularly liked the custard hiding under the layer of melted cheese. Howard liked it too and thought it would be interesting to try for breakfast. I like that idea. There are still a couple left, so I’ll see how I can work it into Saturday or Sunday’s breakfast this weekend.
Cheesy crème brulée with a bowl of soup will also make an excellent lunch on this unexpectedly snowy March day. Today I find it hard to believe that the Vernal Equinox and spring is less than two weeks away.
I couldn’t find this recipe on-line already, and we don’t post the recipes for this group, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see what my Dorista blogging friends thought of this recipe, check out their posts here.