ffwd: pierre hermé’s olive sablés

Olive Sables

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.

Soft and Sticky 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.

Pre-Dinner Nibbles

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.


Posted on 5 April 2013, in Baking, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I ate the egg white flat out with a little salt :-)
    Your circles are so perfectly circle-y. I am jealous.
    Going to check out the bean/ fennel dip. I have two bulbs of fennel in the fridge that I can’t make up my mind what to do with…

    Have a great weekend! I hope all your snow melts. We are supposed to hit 60 by Monday. Happy dance.

  2. Beautiful! Looks like a delicious dinner spread to me. It is nice to have extra sables in the freezer, for whenever a sudden craving attacks. I know it won’t be long before I’m digging them out and making more!

  3. Oh wow, that fennel dip sounds yummy…I am printing the recipe! Your sables look wonderful, so glad they were a hit! I was also a bit skeptical about these cookies…we loved them! A definite keeper!
    Have a great weekend, Betsy!

  4. So glad you both enjoyed these, Betsy! I’d love your spread for my dinner!

  5. These have a way of becoming dinner, it happened to me too! They look wonderful Betsy, and it´s great that you both liked them! That fennel dip sounds great with them.

  6. Betsy, your olive sablés turned out perfect – they look just fabulous the way you presented them on on of your lovely Polish ceramic plate! You already know that we really liked them but I agree with you, they are a whee bit confusing as far as their “classification” is concerned and I also had the same thought as you, I would love to serve them to friends and let them believe it´s chocoalte chips in there.
    have a lovely weekend!

  7. Thank you for the comment on my blog. Your sables look divine and the dip you served them with is a must try!! Glad I sat the “loaf” recipe out.

  8. Betsy your sables and nibbles all look delicious! We have a great restaurant here that serves ‘cookies’ as appetizers but theirs are more like bread slices topped with something. Still they call them cookies so I’m at least familiar with the concept. I must try your fennel dip!

  9. Sometimes pre-dinner nibbles that turn into dinner are the perfect thing, especially with the spread in your photo. Your sablés are shaped so perfectly, too. I’ve decided that these are savoury cookies that could be an appetizer or a dessert.

  10. I wasted my egg white because I’d just had dinner and didn’t want to eat it. Your sables look so good – LOL at how they became dinner.

  11. I like your and Howard”s idea of dinner, Betsy. I have two rolls left in the freezer also and may just save them for when I dine alone. A dinner of appetizers with them as the star. Since I didn’t want to waste the white part of the egg, I just consumed it in on-the-spot. Incidentally, I make egg salad a lot (and, tuna salad, also). It does remind me of my Mom who always made it for us. Thanks for suggesting a brand of olives. Next time I want mine to be oilier and, as Mardi suggested, I will add sea salt to the top.

  12. I just ate my leftover egg, but making a salad with the hard boiled eggs sounds good. Your cookies look lovely and I love that you ended up eating your nibbles for dinner. :) I am going to check out your fennel and bean dip as I have two fennel bulbs in the fridge that I need to use up. Have a great week, Betsy!

  13. I wasn’t sure what to call these either, but referring to them as crackers somehow made me feel better about how many of them I ate before dinner :-) Thanks for the link to the white bean dip. It looks excellent!

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