Gateau Basque

Recipe: Gâteau Basque (Buttery Basque Cake)
Level: Basic
Techniques: Shortcrust Pastry, Creme Patissiere

The first recipe is done.

Nobody was injured and none of my utensils broke. I put a whole plate of the cake out at work and all of it was eaten. A resounding success I think.

Basque cake, is actually a shortcrust pie and the first job, was to make the ground almond shortcrust pastry.

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Ground almond shortcrust ingredients

The ingredients are shown on the left. It’s a basic method. Cream the sugar, ground almonds and butter, then add the lemon zest, an egg yolk and half an egg! Yup, I now know, how to measure half an egg and it generates a lot of unnecessary washing up!

You beat the egg lightly in a cup, measure the amount of egg in tablespoons into ANOTHER cup and then obviously add half the amount to the pastry. So, two cups and one tablespoon later, I had half an egg.

I’ve noticed this book uses eggs like they’re going out of fashion! Nowhere, does the method tell you to retain the other half an egg for the egg wash at the end. It recommends you use another whole egg! That’s my egg rant over. Stir the ingredients until they come together and wrap the pastry in cling-film and chill for two hours.

imageThe next step was to make the creme patissiere. I’d always heard the chefs on TV refer to ‘creme pat’, but I honestly never really knew what it was. It’s basically a custard with some form of flour added as a thickening agent. When you describe it like that, it sounds revolting. Honestly, it’s delicious! You really can’t taste the flour. The dark rum might have had something to do with its ‘moreishness’ as well.

Creme patissiere is a mixture of boiled milk, egg yolks and sugar, to which you add the flour.Then when you’ve whisked it to death and it’s thickened, you add the rum. Which thinned it down, and I had to whisk it all over again. A useful tip is to rest a piece of cling-film on top of the finished ‘creme pat’ so that it doesn’t form a skin.

The hardest part of the whole recipe was rolling out the pastry. I don’t know what it is, but it generally always ends in disaster when I have to roll something out. This time it didn’t stick to the worktop (because Felder recommends rolling the pastry out on baking parchment), but I did have a couple of cracks.

I eventually got the base in the pan, rolled some pastry into a long sausage to make the sides of the pie and piped in the ‘creme pat’. Thankfully the cherry filling didn’t have to be made, the recipe indicated that you could just buy a jar of the stuff. So I schlopped that in and I’m left with the image below of the uncooked pie.

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Finally, add the pastry lid. Brush it with some egg, I’d binned the other half of the egg by this point, so had to use a new one – mise en place springs to mind. Then decorate it, using the tines of a fork.

Cook for 35mins at 180˚C in a fan oven, et voilà!

The finished recipe was pretty tasty.A traditional Gâteau Basque should actually be filled with either cherry conserve, or with creme patissiere. However this mixture of the two worked really well. I’d definitely make this again.

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Next week Tarte Chouquettes.

Thanks for reading.

Angela

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