Saturday, March 19, 2011

FRENCH FRIDAYS WITH DORIE: Salted Butter Break-Ups (Broyé)

Kayte, Katie and I have been really inconsistent in our posting of recipes made with the internet cooking group French Fridays with Dorie, which uses Dorie's lovely book Around My French Table and I am very relieved that FFw/D is not one of the more uptight cooking groups on the internet where if you fail to post a recipe on the assigned date, the other members of the group hunt you down and beat you with their spatulas. This week, however, we were all at the top of our game and made these weird little....cookies? Crackers? I don't think we've figured out exactly what they are yet; Dorie calls them "Salted Butter Break-Aways," but in France, they're called broyés, which means "crushed" or "crumbled."

This was one of the easiest recipes I've made so far -- uhhm, not that I've made that many from this cookbook -- but since it was a simple matter of flour, sugar, butter and sea salt, it was kind of hard to find a reason not to. So I did, and they're a very unusual....cracker? Cookie?....anyway, nothing like anything I've ever eaten before.

The recipe sounded as if they'd be something like a Lantz Captain's Wafer, you know, those little rectangular butter crackers that you can get in individual cellophane wrappers at salad bars? Or like a Keebler Club cracker: crunchy, slightly sweet, slightly salty. As it turns out, the broyés are not really like either of those things. For one thing, they're not as crackery, being crumbly yet more pliable and less dry than what we Americans think of as a cracker. Secondly, with two-thirds of a cup of sugar, they're much sweeter than any cracker we commonly eat, but with one teaspoon of coarse sea salt, they're much saltier than any cookie found on the aisle of any grocery store you care to name. In short, these, ...cra-...whatever they are, simply can't be defined in terms of American tastes.

They are good, though! You mix up the dough in the food processor as you'd do for a pastry, shape it into a flattish square and then chill it for an hour. At the end of that time period, you roll it out into a nice, flat sheet, score it prettily with fork tines (my favorite part) and paint it with a glaze made of egg yolk. Yes, that's right: egg yolk. Not egg white, which is the most commonly used glaze ever if you want to give your food a nice shine. Yolk.

I am not much of an egg person, have I ever mentioned that? Especially the yolks.

When you bake the broyés or break-ups or whatever you want to call them, they're supposed to come out crispy on the edges and firm-with-a-spring in the center, which is how mine came out. To serve, you just....break off a piece, whatever size you'd care to eat. Which is kind of fun. I liked all those funny, misshapen pieces and broke up the entire thing so that it would be easier to store.

I found that broyés go deliciously well with, say, a slice of Swiss cheese. Maybe a nice, sharp Cheddar? I didn't have any of that, nor did I have any Gouda, but both seem like they'd pair up very amicably. I also pictured some sweet grapes or a sliced apple and a glass of moscato; in short, the makings for a very nice little picnic at the park on a day in the spring, just you and your bien-aimé, who would probably eat, lean back on one elbow and then say, "That was nice, but how's about we pack all this up and go get a real lunch?"

If I were to do these crookies -- that's the only way I can think of to describe them -- again, and I probably will because they were good, I'd use only half the sugar (or maybe even less than that) and a little more salt, just a pinch. And I would definitely glaze them, but only with white of egg because yolks are just so yucky.

All in all, a success!


Kayte said...

You did a great job on those and on describing those! Maybe I will actually get posted before the weekend ends, because you know, unless those spatula slapping babes are around, I tend to be a little lax. Okay, a lot lax. I really really think your photos are wonderful! You doing the scallops for next week? They are expensive, so if I do, it's going to be just me for a lunch...those boys would eat their weight in them.

Cher said...

Those spatuala wielding chickies can be frightening! Love the tower of cookies in the first shot...

Adriana said...

The egg white was sounds like it would really work too! I really liked these savory cookies... maybe a little too much! I need to bring in a few people to stop me from eating most of the batch myself.