Salted Butter Break-Ups
From Julie Van Rosendaal
In the Poitou region of France, this broyé (crushed) cookie is traditionally set out on the table in one big piece so guests can break off chunks. It makes great use of good-quality butter, which you can hear sizzling as the cookie comes out of the oven. It’s a perfect dinner party dessert, perhaps served with a bashed-up bar of dark chocolate, ice cream or fresh fruit in season. Adapted slightly from Around my French Table, by Dorie Greenspan.
1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar
1/2-1 t. sel gris or sea salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
4-5 T. cold water
1 egg yolk
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine them. Drop in the pieces of butter and pulse the mixture until it looks like coarse meal, with bigger pea-sized clumps of butter. With the machine running, pour in the cold water gradually, adding just enough to allow the dough to start pulling away from the side of the bowl. It will look dry and mealy until you squeeze it together.
Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it down to flatten it, then wrap it in plastic and chill it for about 1 hour, or up to 3 days. (It also freezes for up to 2 months.)
When you’re ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment, remove the dough from the fridge, and, if it’s very hard, bash it a few times with your rolling pin to soften it. Put the dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll it into a rectangle that’s about 1/4" thick and 5 "x 11" in size, or thereabouts. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet.
Beat the egg yolk with a few drops of cold water and, using a pastry brush, paint the top surface of the dough. Using the tines of a table fork, decorate the cookie in a crosshatch pattern.
Bake the cookie for 30-35 minutes, or until it’s golden. It will be firm to the touch but will have a little spring when pressed in the center – the perfect break-up is crisp on the outside and still tender within. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and allow the cookie to cool to room temperature. Serve it whole on a platter or cutting board, set in the middle of the table. Serves 10-15.