Sablé breton

Sablé breton

PS Desserts
Mark Roper

This delicious pastry, originating in Brittany, is like a cross between shortbread and sponge cake due to the addition of baking powder. It requires less time to make than the other pastries as there is no chilling or resting involved. Just make and bake. I use it to make a tart base for my roasted fig and white chocolate mousse tart or it’s delicious simply filled with Crème pâtissière and berries. I also bake it into little biscuits and serve them as an accompaniment to my Rice pudding, or they would make a nice additon to the Crème caramel too.


Quantity Ingredient
160g egg yolk
350g caster sugar
320g butter, softened, (see note)
440g plain flour
15g baking powder


  1. Making the dough

    Place the egg yolk in an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and begin whisking on high speed.
  2. Sprinkle in the sugar in one batch and continue whisking until pale and creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
  4. Turn the speed right down and start adding the butter to the mixer, one-quarter at a time, whisking well between each addition but not so much as to deflate the yolk mixture.
  5. Remove the bowl from the electric mixer. Sift in the flour and baking powder.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, work slowly, gently folding in the flour until it is just combined.
  7. Scrape the contents of the bowl onto a work surface and bring the dough together gently, making sure not to overwork it. The photo shows the texture you’re aiming for. The pastry is now ready to use either to line tart rings or rolled out to make biscuits.
  8. To bake

    Preheat the oven to 165ºC. (Sablé Breton should be baked at a lower temperature than other pastry. This keeps it “blonde” and ensures that the delicate buttery texture and flavour are maintained.) Spray small tart rings with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  9. Gently press the pastry into the rings, pressing up the sides slightly to form a border.
  10. Bake for 15–18 minutes (more for larger tarts) or until puffed up and golden brown. The pastry will sink slightly as it cools. Fill with your desired filling.

Notes on butter for pastry

  • My colleagues, family and friends can attest to my obsession with butter. Butter is made from cream, right? Cream is white not daffodil yellow. Butter is a fresh food and should look and smell as such. It should have a faint, creamy, slightly sweet smell. If it is rancid, yellow and sour, I don’t use it.


    Always check the use-by date on the pack and only use unsalted butter for pastry and baking.


    It’s important your butter is at a workable temperature when making pastry. None of my pastry recipes uses cold butter straight from the fridge. “Room temperature” butter is a tricky definition as it depends on the room.


  • The pastry is best baked immediately. You can freeze it, but form it first into a tart ring — thaw in the fridge before using.
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