French Biscuit Recipe – Palets Bretons
La Bretagne, Brittany, is a region in the North West of France that is famous for many things including its deliciously buttery and very crumbly biscuits.
There are two kinds: ‘Sablés Bretons‘ and ‘Palets Bretons‘.
‘Sable’ = sand, and ‘palet’ = disc.
Both are round, crumbly biscuits full of salted butter, and the difference is that ‘Palets Bretons’ are thicker, usually about 1.5cm tall.
‘Palets Bretons’ biscuits are named after the discs used in a traditional game from Brittany called ‘jeu de palets‘. Players throw discs onto a board placed five metres away on the ground. A game called ‘Shuffleboard‘ is sometimes played in a similar way.
Oven temperature – 180C, or 160C in a fan oven.
Muffin Tin: A pastry chef would have individual moulds for each biscuit, but a non-stick muffin tin works extremely well. There is no need to grease it as the biscuits have enough butter in them.
Moulds or a muffin tin are essential, to stop the butter from oozing out of the biscuits while they are cooking.
Ingredients for Palets Bretons:
180g salted butter, softened
4 egg yolks (5 if they are small)
250g plain flour
6g (1tspn) baking powder
Beat together the sugar and eggs
Beat in the soft salted butter
Mix the baking powder into the flour, and fold it slowly into the buttery mixture.
The consistency should be perfect to be able to roll it very gently with your hands into a sausage on a very lightly floured piece of baking parchment on a flat surface.
Use a ruler to make the sausage dough 32cms long.
Roll up the sausage of dough in the parchment and place it in the fridge for half an hour.
Now use a sharp knife to slice the sausage in half (at the 16cm mark) and then cut 11 biscuits from each half, making a total of 22 biscuits.
Do not worry if the underside edge of the dough is a bit flat. This will sort itself out in the oven.
One muffin tin is fine. Bake the first 12 biscuits in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes. Wait a couple of minutes and then lift them gently onto a cooling rack.
Wait for the muffin tin to cool down, and then bake the final batch of 10 biscuits.
BISCUITS … Cooked twice!
Did you know that the word ‘biscuit’ means ‘cooked twice’?
Bis = x2, Cuit = cooked (in French)!
Palets Bretons should be crumbly, NOT the texture of a cake.
If you realise that your biscuits are not crumbly all the way through, bake them again for another 5+ minutes.
They will taste better for it.
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Find out more about La Bretagne, the region in France where palets bretons biscuits come from, and its links to the United Kingdom:
KS3 French Activity – La Bretagne
French Cooking Vocabulary:
de la farine – some flour
de la levure – some baking powder
du sucre – some sugar
du beurre – some butter
un oeuf – an egg
un jaune d’oeuf – an egg yolk
salé – salted, salty