cookies · French recipe · leftovers · sweet · sweet bread

Gros Sablé Breton or Je ne Mange pas Six Jours

Once I promised my Mom as soon as I get four egg yolks left over, I will make this giant French shortcrust cookie for her, Gros Sablé Breton. These leftover (actually three but large) egg yolks resulted from an accident =) As I was making this Lemon Pudding-Cake with Homemade Jam  from zoebakes.com, I was careless enough to put my mixing bowl WITH the hand mixer on top just too close to my vigorously moving hands… This was how I lost almost all the egg whites which I was beating in that bowl for the recipe. So I had to crack three more eggs and this is how I suddenly discovered three large egg yolks – exactly the amount you’ll need for that French recipe. My Mom loves such sandy chewy and quite dry things (to an almost disgust of my Dad), so the puddings (very sweet but also quite unusual) went for my Dad and this giant cookie to my Mom =)

And about the second phrase of this post title, I just recalled it somehow and decided to share it with you. Je ne Mange pas Six Jours, meaning in French I do not eat six days (I guess the phrase should have been Je n’ai pas mange six jours), is one of the things almost every Russian can say in French, haha, sometimes even without knowing what they’re saying. This phrase comes from the cult 1927 satire book The 12 Chairs by Ilf and Petrov (yes, they were creating together), actually popularised in its 1971 screen version. A former aristocrat Ippolit Matveevich aka Kisa is forced by the genius scoundrel Ostap Bender to beg for money using his knowledge of several languages – he also says something like give me please some kopecks in German, but the French phrase is far more popular =) By the way, the book is a must for those desperately trying to understand the beginning of the Soviet era in Russia, with loads of humour, sarcasm and catch phrases!

But let’s return to the recipe. Ah, those people from Brittany, look at that crumb! They definitely know how to eat well, think about thin savoury Breton galettes from buckwheat flour for example, mmmmmm! Or cider. I was in Saint-Malo once, a fortified port city of corsairs, which reminded me of Greece and Italy at the same time, although it’s situated in the North-West of France, actually! I don’t know, but there’s something to those au bord de la mer places, don’t you think? The same with Naples, Venice, even St. Petersburg, hey =) And all those painters and photographers (my Dad would love it there) flocking to such regions, with the ever changing colours, weather and wind. And the sand, just as this ‘sandy dough’ cookie, as we would call it in Russian (= pesochnoye testo). I guess this gros sablé would be a great snack for those sailing to some rocky island for the hidden treasure, hehe.

So here’s a new recipe for the Leftovers saga, although it rarely happens that you have four egg yolks around=) Be prepared to have at least three egg yolks on hand for this recipe, as the topping of the cookie won’t need a whole yolk. But if you do not happen to have those 3-4 egg yolks left over, don’t worry, just try this apparently easy Coffee-Streusel Bundt Cake from pinchofyum.com which requires 2 egg whites, and then tell me your impressions, I haven’t tried it yet=) and for the remaining 1 egg white, here’s a very soft and nice cookie recipe I have tried – Lemon Thins from pastryaffair.com.

Gros Sablé Breton, Large Breton Shortcrust, adapted from the original recipe in French, translated and published here with a kind permission of CoCOnut of  fleur2t.canalblog.com (merci!), will make a very sweet and crumbly giant French shortcrust cookie. My remarks are in brackets.

Ingredients

  • 300 g all purpose flour
  • 150 g sugar (the recipe says finely ground, but I used regular sugar)
  • 3 egg yolks + 1 for the glaze (If you use large eggs, just keep a bit for the glaze)
  • 125 g semi-salted butter, softened (I use less and my butter was not salted)
  • baking powder on the tip of a knife

Method

Preheat oven to 180 °C.

Mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the centre and add softened butter and the egg yolks. Crumble the dough with your fingers to mix all the ingredients well. Do not kneed (which I did at a certain point, completely forgetting about this instruction!). Form a ball.

Flatten the dough in a cake pan (The author suggests you either grease it or not, I did grease my spring-form pan and that was a good idea, I guess, cause the cookie was well ‘glued’ to the bottom after it was baked).

Beat the remaining egg yolk and brush the top of the cookie. With a fork make crossing patterns on the top.

Bake 45 mins (my cookie took less time, I guess that was also because my pan was larger, )

Your gros sablé should be all golden brown! Leave to cool and remove from the pan.

The result was very smart-looking=) As the dough is quite sweet, I would add some lemon zest next time, because to my mind it just needed something like this, like a tiny touch of something fragrant.

Our summer suddenly turned into a cold autumn-like windy-rainy mess… But yesterday we did manage to have a very nice day at my dacha place, cause it’s the season for plucking out the weeds before they devour your more cultural plants! =) and also the house needs painting and new plants a lot of attention. I’m no green thumb, for sure, but dacha is just so special, you are ready to spend hours outdoors, getting all dirty but tanned =)

Will soon post a recipe for more leftovers use, by the way.

G.

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