Sable dough is a versatile pastry staple. Shorter (crumbly) and richer than regular pie crust (thanks, eggs), sable makes a sturdy and tasty shell for tarts and also makes excellent shortbread-type cookies.
What Is Sable Dough?
Sable is the French term for “sand,” and sandy is a good description of the texture of sable dough.
Sable dough is rich and buttery and sturdy enough to work as a tart shell for full-sized tarts. The egg adds additional richness and structure. It slices cleanly and has a wonderful crumbly mouthfeel.
If you like Pecan Sandies cookies, you’re pretty much eating sable cookies with pecans in it. Good stuff!
How to Flavor Your Tart or Cookie Dough
Most of the time, the main flavor of sable is butter, but there is no reason you cannot add additional flavor, whether you’re making the dough for tart shells or cookies.
Here are some ideas for ways to add additional flavor:
- Add citrus zest. I like a microplane for this.
- Include some ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom. Orange and cardamom together would be lovely.
- Replace a portion of the flour for cocoa powder to make a chocolate version. Or use my chocolate sable recipe.
- Add some espresso powder to the mix for coffee-flavored cookies.
- Introduce an herbal note with crushed dried herbs or a small amount of culinary lavender.
- Especially when making this dough for cookies, consider rolling on a layer of cinnamon sugar before baking.
Can You Use Sable Dough for Slice and Bake Cookies?
Absolutely! We used to do this at the restaurant all the time. Roll your sable into logs the diameter you want your cookies to be, wrap them well, and freeze them. Slice off what you need and bake from frozen. They come our perfectly.
What You’ll Need to Make Sable
You honestly don’t need a lot of equipment. A stand mixer is of course nice to have, but you can also use a hand mixer. The one piece of equipment I strongly advise everyone to get is a kitchen scale.
I weigh all my ingredients, sometimes in grams, but often in ounces. To get consistent results with ingredients that can pack down and take up different volumes, weighing is your best bet. This is the scale I use, and it has never failed me.
Looking for a Leaner Pie Dough?
Here are some other, less rich options for your pie and tart shells.
- Pate Brisee
- Perfect Quick & Easy Rough Puff Pastry
- Chocolate Caramel Buttermilk Tart (Buttermilk Pie Dough)
Classic French Sable Dough Recipe
- 9 oz . unsalted butter
- 7 oz . sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 whole eggs
- 17.5 oz ., (1 pound, 1.5 oz) all purpose flour
- Cream butter, sugar and salt.
- Add eggs, 1 at a time, until well incorporated.
- Add flour and mix on low just until the dough has come together.
- Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, then roll and use as you will.
- Bake at 350 degrees, F, until lightly golden brown and delicious.
Note that baking times will vary depending on what you're using your sable for. Keep an eye on it. The dough should be firm, golden around the edges and lightly golden on top.
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Nutrition InformationYield 18 Serving Size 2 oz
Amount Per ServingCalories 190 Total Fat 12g Saturated Fat 7g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 51mg Sodium 69mg Carbohydrates 19g Fiber 0g Sugar 11g Protein 2g