Piece of life
The lockdowns this year have been playing with our nerves, but there have been some positive aspects to this situation. As a pastry lover, I especially appreciated the lives of famous chefs. Not only did they share recipes with us, but they also made them live, which makes a big difference in the outcome you can get when doing them yourself. Seeing the steps, the gestures, and the textures helps a lot. Even though I cook a lot, some recipes give me a hard time, and they’re not always the most complicated ones. If you follow me, you must have already seen some posts about my failures; I’m not hiding it; it happens to everyone. And one of the recipes that gave me the most frustration was the Spritz [also called Viennese shortbread]. But that was before the famous pastry chef, Pierre Hermé…
About the Spritz
I tried many recipes from different chefs, but I simply couldn’t get a good result. I usually ended up with a very dense paste, extremely difficult to pipe. I would spend hours on it and get weird shapes and sore arms. But I kept trying because I simply love those little cookies. So when I saw that Pierre Hermé was going to do life on Instagram, I can’t tell you how excited I was… After carefully listening to all the advice, I tried it out, and this time everything went perfectly well, the dough is easy to handle, and my shortbread finally looked good.
Here is the chef’s advice that made the difference :
1/Most importantly, the butter must be at room temperature and soft. There is a reason we call it “beurre pommade” in french [literally, butter ointment], the butter must have the texture of an ointment, super soft. This is the key to success with this recipe.
2/ it will be easier to manipulate the pastry bag if you don’t overfill it. Put only half of the preparation in it, then once empty, put the other half. Pierre Hermé advises using a scalloped tip D8, which I used; it works great!
Spritz (viennese whirls shortbreads) from Pierre Hermé
- Scalloped tip D8
- 225 g flour sifted
- 190 g butter SOFT
- 1 egg white
- 75 g of confectioner's sugar sifted
- 1 pinch of flower sea salt
- 1 vanilla pod seeds
Pour la finition
- 200 g dark chocolat
- 2 g Mycryo optional
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a bowl whisk together the butter, salt and vanilla seeds.
- Add the sifted confectioner's sugar. Whisk.
- Add the egg white. Whisk.
- With a rubber spatula, incorporate the sifted flour, in 2 times.
- Pour half of the dough (it will be easier to pipe the dough and form beautiful shortbread) into a pastry bag (with the D8 scalloped tip).
- Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Pipe the shortbreads on the parchment paper, either following the original shape (like a W) or the shape you want. Repeat with the 2nd part of the dough.
- Bake for 14 to 18 minutes until golden brown. Place on a rack and let cool.
- The shortbreads can be eaten as is or coated with chocolate for more pleasure.
- If you wish to coat them with chocolate : melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave. To have a very shiny chocolate follow the tempering curves according to the chocolate you have chosen. It is also possible to temper the chocolate using Mycryo (from Cacao Barry). But if you don't want to make it complicated just melt the chocolate, the result will be less shiny and less crunchy, but will remain just as tasty.
- Dip half of the cookie in the chocolate, remove the excess and leave to dry at room temperature.