Pierre Herme’s Sable Viennois – Danish Butter Cookies?

Still reeling from the light and airy texture of  the Viennese Chocolate Sable I had made last week, I found another Sable Viennois recipe in another Pierre Herme pastry cookbook which I had just bought at Page One in Hong Kong last week. Published in Chinese  Le Livre des fours sees et melleux de Pierre Herme, cost me less than SGD 20 – a steal for the Pastry Master’s recipes! That’s the beauty of translated cookbook – the price drops to a fraction of the original version – and that is why I always make it a point to prowl the biggest bookshops when I am in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Japan.  So if you read Chinese or Japanese, these are perfect options to add to your library of cookbooks.

This is another easy peasy recipe that can be whipped up in 30mins. Truthful in its original plain vanilla buttery goodness, there is nothing plain about the flavour of these cookies. In fact, when I first tasted these they reminded me so much of the Danish Butter Cookieswe used to devour from those famous blue tins… and are still devouring.

I remember my mother’s enthusiastic attempts at replicating those famous Danish Butter cookies after taking some lessons at the community centre. Her versions were prepared by rolling the dough into little balls and flattened into a medallion with a fork. They were popular within the household but was no where near the butter cookies that came in the blue tins. It lacked the lightness and crispness.
The Sable Viennois solved that problem completely and possibly too excessively as they were so crisp and light that they border on being over delicate… they crumble at the slightest knock and impact. Hence when I repeated a second batch for this post, I had deliberately inched up the amount of flour added. It got a little sturdier but is still no where near the ‘robustness’ of the cookies in the blue tins. I am keen to incorporate some egg yolk in the recipe for my next attempt.

Nevertheless, the taste is again wonderful. You won’t be able to stop eating this, be warned… watch out for those calories!

Recipe :

95g               Unsalted Butter
1g                 Fleur de Sel
1/8 tsp          Vanilla paste (the recipe originally asked for 2-3 pinches of Vanilla powder)
40g               Powdered Sugar
15g               Egg White
115g             All purpose flour (I bumped this up to 125g for this post)

Method :
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk unsalte butter with Fleur de Sel until creamy.
3. Add in powdered sugar and whisk until homogenous and creamy.
4. Add in egg white. ( The mixture may curdle a little but it will smoothen out after flour is added.
5. Add in flour and mix until well combined.
6. Scoop batter into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe circles/wreaths on a lined baking tray.
7. Bake at 180C for 10 -12 mins or until golden brown.
8. Cool down and store in air tight container.