Olive Sablés – Pierre Hermé

French Friday’s with Dorie

Pierre Hermé's Olive Sablés

I say with a degree of certainty that the ‘cocktail cookie’ movement is never going to be one I will join and champion across the blogosphere much less turn my party guests onto by serving them at home. Oh, they’re good. Very good in fact. Some are even great. So great you could easily be tempted to eat enough to ruin your dinner. What is the point of that?

I will never trust the whole appetizer thing anyways. They are one sneaky, tricky beast of a food category for me to figure out. Appetizers, well, they just mess with my head. Just considering them during the menu planning phase psychs me out to a certain degree.

Should I make fabulous appetizers and risk my guests having no appetite left for the main course when it rolls out? Or do I forgo a show stopping appetizer tray and lead my cherished guests to the incorrect conclusion that I am a thoughtless host. What to do, what to do?

Usually I just stalemate to a few salted nuts and some olives. Yawn.
I can tell you that I won’t be making cocktail cookies for a Certain Someone ever again. Turns out that Certain Someone doesn’t have much self-control so downed just about the entire plate. Then, like a fool, I reflexively re-staged the appetizer tray. Big mistake. Huge mistake. Some people just can’t resist salt and sweet in the same bite. Certain Someone, this is you.

Oh, and Certain Someone, if you are reading this? That dinner you barely touched was better than just about anything I had cooked in recent memory. Everyone said so. Well everyone who stopeed at just one or two cocktail cookies! You pushed your food around the plate pretending to eat but I knew what had happened. And when plates were cleared it was painful to see yours sitting on the counter with my culinary triumph sitting on it. Pummeled with your fork.

Pierre Hermé's Olive Sablés

Like just about anything I suppose some cocktail cookie iterations are better than others and many are better than these. In truth, I preferred David’s Seaweed Sables from last June. These Olive Sablés, however, do all they are supposed to do: delay hunger for an hour or two (if you only have a couple!) while priming the palate nicely for a sip of wine. It doesn’t hurt that they look good sitting on an appetizer tray and are interesting enough to spark conversation if you have nothing worthwhile to talk about. What more do you want from an appetizer?

Olive Sablés – Pierre Hermé

The dough should chill for at least several hours as it is a bit loose and probably much better to let it sit overnight in the fridge. You should use an oil-cured, meaty and chewy olive and not the tinned olives I used. Regular canned won’t contribute enough olive flavor. My olives were not briney enough so based on the Dorista comments floating around I not only added a heavy 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the dough, I dusted the prebaked rounds with fleur de sel which is what probably inviting the over-consumption by a Certain Someone. That whole sugar and salt thing. Sigh.

Pierre Hermé’s Olive Sablés

Pierre Hermé’s Olive Sablés

Adapted from Dorie Greenspans's "Around My French Table"

This is what you will need:

  • 1 large hard-boiled egg, white discarded
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp Potato Starch
  • 15 Tbsp unsalted butter – room temperature
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (a fragrant olive oil is best – the olivey the better!)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 5 oz tin of pitted black olives, chopped – my tin said ‘cured’ but did not have much brine taste, hence the next ingredient:
  • 1/2 teasp salt but fleur de sel for sprinkling on cookies pre-baking

This is how you make it:

  1. Grate the hard-boiled yolk onto a piece of wax-paper.
  2. Put the flour and potato starch in a strainer set over a large bowl and sift into the bowl, whisk to thoroughly blend.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium until creamy.
  4. Add the olivie oil, the grated yolk and then the confectioners' sugar in that order and reduce speed to low.
  5. Spoon in the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough just comes together.
  6. Add the chopped olives and mix until distributed evenly.
  7. The dough is very soft but if its too soft to work with you can chill it for a few minutes in the refrigerator.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it into thirds, and shape each piece into a log about 1 1/2 inches (3,5 cm) in diameter.
  9. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least several hours.
  10. If you're in a hurry, you can freeze the logs for an hour or so. I like to open up paper towel rolls and keep them wrapped in those so they hold a nice round shape.
  11. When you're ready to bake the sables, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  12. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and working with 1 log at a time, slice the cookies 1/4 inch thick and arrange them on the baking sheet.
  13. Bake these one sheet at a time and always use a cool cookie sheet.
  14. Bake the sables for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the midway mark, or until the cookies are firm but not colored.
  15. They may turn golden around the edges, but you don't want them to brown.
  16. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool, and repeat with the remaining logs of dough, making sure to use a cook baking sheet each time.

This dish was an assignments for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “Around My French Table”. We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or hundreds of other bloggers I will either include it here (only when adapted) or provide a direct link. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. I can see how someone could just keep eating these. I set them out with other pre-dinner nibbles, and we stopped after the appetizers. No room for dinner (though no guests either). I was skeptical about these, but I was won over in the end.

  2. Ha! You are hilarious. But you speak the truth! 🙂

  3. I’m with you, Trevor! When anyone asks what they can bring, I always say appetizers! They can take just as much time, or more, than the entree to make. Except for crudites, nuts, olives, and cheese, I’m usually at a loss… And, you know me, I’d rather spend my time making a spectacular dessert.

  4. Te he, that Certain Someone was me in my house. I just kept going back for one more until they were all gone. Good thing I only baked one log.

  5. Agree re this needing not-tinned olives… Yours look lovely though – mine were certainly “rustic” 😉 I also preferred the seaweed sablés to be honest… And you know, I DO think there’s something in the cocktail cookie movement.

  6. A good appetizer tray with wine or beer can sub for dinner easily. And we´re huge fans of that here, mainly deli meats, cheeses, mini empanadas, olives. I found these extraordinary, though I wonder what that meal you made was… You´re so right with the not enough salty kick regular supermarket olives provide; I had the same thought. Have a good weekend!

  7. Oh yum! This looks soooo good. What a beautiful idea for a tapas party (which I am considering having) fun!

  8. Trevor, terrific presentation and wonderful photography – all looks so very “chic” – we liked these appetizer-style cookies but I must admit that I am not into those “cocktail” cookies either – they do spoil everyone´s appetitie to a certain extent and there are just not really any cocktails at our house – too many little people.
    Have a good weekend – nic eto see that you are posting agian!

  9. I am one who would rather fill up on appetizers and desserts and forget the entree…BUT I’d never do that when someone else is cooking for me! Beautiful spread, Trevor!

  10. I fear I would have been your Certain Someone had I been lucky enough to have dinner at your house. Although I will say that I am such a pig I am sure I would have still had room for your entree! I can eat All the Good Foods. : )

  11. Hi Trevor!

    It is so good to see you back. I was hungering for a post (and a laugh) form you. You delivered. I too have a hard time with appetizers. First, so many are WAY too fussy for me, and second, and more important, some people(eewho shall remain nameless) overdo. leaving no room for the main event. Yes, I too have suffered the solitary agony of cleaning a barely touched plate.

    These sound delightful, and your comment about the type of olive you selected make perfect sense. Next time you make these, see if you can find some black Bella di Cerignola olives from the Fratepietro Farm in Puglia. They are big meaty black olives with full flavor.

    Thank you for mentioning that the dough would probably have benefited from a long, perhaps overnight rest. I will take that into consideration when I make these.

    It is wonderful to see you back and in such fine writing form.

  12. What my Aunt Mary does when serving appetizers is puts them on a nice tray and works the crowd with the offering – allowing only one round usually and that’s it. I thought that was a good idea, but I also thought that it’s a good idea when you have a maid in the kitchen doing everything else! These sables look so delicious – powdered sugar and olives together in one recipe! Must make when lent is donzo.

  13. I admit, appetizers befuddle me at times. It’s the only thing that makes me happy my husband and I don’t entertain more. We’ve been eating these as snacks whenever the mood hits us, which is usually in those couple of hours between the end of work and dinner. They really are wonderful for staving off rumbling stomachs while making dinner! Yours look fantastic, Trevor, very beautiful!

  14. Sorry that a Certain Someone filled up on these cookies! But, at least they were enjoyed and that others also enjoyed your dinner!

  15. I always put out a little something, but cookies no, not even savory ones would work for me. I like the entree and dessert to be the winners. But that didn’t stop me from biscuits and bacon jam a few weeks ago before we had dinner. Somehow that worked because the dinner had no starch, not until dessert that is. On a different day, I might love olive shortbread cookies.

  16. I’m sure Certain Someone just could not resist the alluring call of the appetizer when presented with such panache. I love how you paired them with the gherkins. It is disheartening when your hard work sits there uneaten. Dare I ask what C.S. missed for dessert? No dinner, no dessert! So, so sad. *sniff*

  17. I think that fleur de sel is a lovely touch for these cookies, especially if you don’t use olives with much salt.

    Your description of a Certain Someone confused me. Trevor had my Dad over for dinner? How was it possible for him to be at Trevor’s place while simultaneously finishing off the sablés I’d baked at his house?

  18. Well, certain someone aside, I’ll say this. I like to start a dinner party with something impressive. I find if I wow from the getgo they think the whole meal is a success. Even if I blinder here or there. GREG

  19. Sometimes, appetizers are the best part of meal (in my house, sometimes they are the meal…)

    Your cookies look divine, but I am really hankering those olives – as long as it won’t ruin my dinner.

  20. I love cookies! I love to nibble, too! This explains why I am no longer a 29″ waist!

  21. I certainly understand why Certain Someone couldn’t contain themselves by just eating one or two of these, but I am so sorry that their plate of your delectable food was left relatively uneaten. Your sables look beautiful, Trevor.

  22. I usually never serve much for the appetizer portion of my dinner party except booze or wine, for the very reason you suggested. When you work hard on a meal, you’d like your guests – all your guests, even a Certain Someone – to eat it. But I thought these sablés were really an ideal accompaniment to drinks. One or two wouldn’t ruin an appetite. Liked these better than the seaweed’s, however.

  23. I made a platter of these along with pickled okra, olives, and slices of Romano cheese. A little salami would’ve been nice, too. We shared it along with wine with our neighbors. Lovely.

  24. I would gladly have only appetizers and forgo dinner completely. I just love savory cookies, cured meats, dips, cheese and all that goes on an appetizer plate! So I will be making these and will be the Certain Someone!

  25. I usually go overboard when it comes to appetizers. Eating them at other parties and preparing them at my own. I just love the act of standing around a table chatting with friends while grazing on a variety of small bites. These sables look pretty darn good. I would gladly serve them at my next party 🙂

  26. hi Trevor….i forgot to leave a comment about these…they look FABULOUS! i think i should make them. i only have Kalamata olives in the fridge…hmmm…i know it would be good, but i love the little black specks. YUM, with a little goat cheese perhaps? i’ll wait and get some black.
    by the way…i would have gladly licked that specktacular dinner plate clean even if i had downed 2 or 10 sables. shame on that “certain someone”