Gateau Basque

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Over the past weeks I explored quite some recipes for the tart pastry. They were all great and all work best for a specific purpose. One thing I learned that works perfect every time is to soften the butter. It makes mixing the pastry way easier and if you give it an at least 2 hour chilling time after mixing, you will still end up with a crumbly tart. It actually works best to make the pastry one day ahead, if you like planning your meals like I do 😉
This is the last last recipe for a tart pastry. It’s a very crumbly, almost shortbread like, pastry with an addition of ground almonds. Traditionally this cake is made in the Basque part of France. It can have two filling: a classic pastry cream or a cherry preserve. I used them both in one cake, keeping the cherries on the inside and cream on the outside of the filling.
This cake has a very nostalgic feel to it (not only to French people) and is filled with well known and comforting aromas. It’s perfect for the upcoming winter evenings.
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One more note: you will use more egg yolks than egg whites (as usually). Hold on to the whites, you can store them safely in the fridge for up to 3 days. I will soon post a nice cake recipe to use all the leftover whites 🙂

Buttery Basque Cake
adapted from Christophe Felder
For the Basque Pastry:
  • 175 g of butter, softened,
  • 125 g of sugar,
  • 85 g of ground almonds,
  • zest from 1/2 lemon, finely grated,
  • 1 egg yolk,
  • 25 g of a beaten egg (reserve the other half of the whole beaten egg for the egg glaze),
  • 225 g of flour,
  • pinch of salt.
  1. Beat together butter, sugar and ground almonds with a spatula.
  2. Mix in the lemon zest.
  3. Beat in the egg yolk and 1/2 egg.
  4. Add flour and salt and beat until smooth.
  5. Form into a flat disk, wrap in a plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
For the fillings:
  • 250 ml full fat milk,
  • 3 egg yolks,
  • 45 g of sugar,
  • 20 g of flour,
  • 30 ml of dark rum,
  • 120 g cherry preserve (not too sweet).
  1. Bring the milk to boil over a medium heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolk with the sugar and flour. Mix until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Slowly add the egg mixture to the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until it thickens.
  4. Add the rum and continue cooking for a minute (still whisking). Take off the heat.
  5. Cover the cream directly with a plastic wrap and cool in a room temperature.
Assemble the cake:
  1. Cut the dough in a half. Roll out one half to about 4 mm thick. Transfer into a 24 cm tart pan with a removable bottom. Cut the sides to the tart form (Note: You should make the sides a bit thicker, so that you can glue the top and the bottom of the cake together easily – do that by making a rope from the leftover dough and place it around the tart form).
  2. Dip you finger in water and lightly moisten the edge of the crust (the top of the rope). Prick the base with a fork.
  3.  Spoon the pastry cream on the outside of the tart.
  4. Spread the cherry preserve in the centre.
  5. Roll out the second piece of pastry (until 4 mm thick).
  6. Place it delicately on the top of the tart and trim the edge with a side of the rolling pin.
  7. Brush the top of the cake with an egg glaze.
  8. If you want you can make a pattern with a fork.
  9. Bake for 30 min at 180 degrees in the middle of an oven.
  10. Cool in the tart form.
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