Gateau Basque

OH BOY. I think I found it. I really think I found it.

My new. Favorite. Dessert.

Introducing: Gateau Basque

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C’est bon, non? Hon hon hon.

“Who-a-what?”

“Gateau Basque.” (Gat-oh Bask) As always, you can blame it on the French. Or. You can thank them for such a delightful pastry.

Reasons why I love it:

  1. It’s a cake. No it’s a pie. No it’s a tart.
  2. See number one.
  3. It incorporates almonds into the crust. You can also find recipes that solely use all-purpose flour. Don’t be stupid. Or do what you want. Also, if you use ground almonds, then you get a grainy nut texture to your crust, which I find very enjoyable, yes indeed. But I’m also kinda nutty.

This cake is served every which way. There’s the jam-filled type. Then there’s the cream-filled one. And then there’s the over-indulgent, inner fatty kind that poses the question, “Why choose?” :Snort: Truth.

Now I used a recipe from Bret’s Table:

1 ½ cups (6 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup

1 ¾ ounces ground almond flour or 1 ¾ ounces sliced blanched almonds, processed to powder

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar

10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg, room temperature

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

½ teaspoon grated orange zest (I recommend)

You will also need:

¾ – 1 cup (6 – 8 ounces) thick cherry jam*

Pastry cream, recipe below

1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water

*No one dubbed cherry jam as the king of jam. Roam free, my friend. Variety is the spice of life. I think any berry would go swimmingly in this tart..cake..tart.

The Dough:

Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt.

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and beat another 2 minutes. Add the extracts and mix for about a minute more. Add the dry ingredients in two or three additions, mixing only until they’re fully incorporated. Do not over-mix.

Divide the dough in half and place each in plastic wrap. Roll each half of the dough to a thickness of about a ¼-inch. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or for up to 3 days.

For the pastry cream (recipe by Chef Lou Jones from the Culinary Institute of America):

2 1/4 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (can opt for 1 tsp almond extract)

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch.

Transfer remaining 1 3/4 cups milk to heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup sugar over, letting sugar sink undisturbed to bottom. Set pan over moderate heat and bring to simmer without stirring.

Whisk hot milk mixture, then gradually whisk into egg yolk mixture. Return to saucepan over moderate heat and cook, whisking constantly, until pastry cream simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard vanilla pod, and whisk cream until smooth. Transfer to bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Pastry cream can be made ahead and refrigerated, wrapped well with plastic wrap on surface, up to 3 days.)

Assemble:

When you’re ready, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Generously butter a 8 × 2-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.

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Remove one of the pieces of dough from the refrigerator. Cut out a round of dough 8 1/2 –inches in diameter. Fit the round in the bottom and up the sides of the pan by ½-inch. This crust is forgiving and moldable, no worries.

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Spoon the jam onto the dough. Then add the pastry cream, as much as you’d like (I made a small mountain), but make sure the top surface is smoothed out and flat.

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Remove the second piece of dough from the refrigerator and cut out an 8-inch round of dough. Set this piece on top of the cream. Gently seal the two doughs.

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Here are your two options for decoration:

A) Brush the top of the dough with the egg glaze and use the tines of a fork to etch a cross-hatch pattern across the top.

B) Mix 2 teaspoons of instant coffee into the egg glaze so that it turns an auburn color. Layer it on top of the crust, and using your spoon or a finger, remove negative space to create a pattern. Think simple.

I opted for Choice B.  Winner winner chicken dinner!

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Finally, bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 5 minutes before carefully running a blunt knife around the edges of the cake. Invert it onto another rack so that it can cool to room temperature right side up.

I do what I do.

For a gluten-free recipe, refer to http://mygem2.blogspot.com/2011/03/gateau-basque.html

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