Like the Basque region which sits on the border between France and Spain, this cake straddles borders with a crust that is somewhere between a cake and a pie. The area is home to several well known French foods; Bayonne de Ham, prunes (dried plums), black cherries, French chocolate, Espelette peppers and, of course, Gateau Basque.
Gateau Basque – Cake with Pastry Cream Filling
- Small container with lid
- Stand mixer with paddle attachments
- small saucepan
- Medium bowl
- 8-inch round cake pan
- Baking pan
- 6 oz Unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 oz Cake flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 9 tbsp Unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup Superfine sugar
- 2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
- 1½ tbsp Basque aromatics
- 1 tsp Heavy cream
- 1 cup Whole milk
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- 1½ tsp Superfine sugar
- 1 pinch Salt
- 4 tsp Cornstarch
- 3 large Egg yolks
- 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp Heavy cream
- 1 tbsp Basque aromatics
- ¼ cup Armagnac (cognac or brandy OK)
- 2 tbsp Orange-flower water (Cointreau or triple sec OK)
- 2 tbsp Anisette (Patis or Greek ouzo OK, or omit)
- 2 tbsp Dark rum (add 1 tbsp if no annisette)
- 1 tsp Almond extract
- 1 strip Orange of lemon zest, 1-inch long by ¼-inch wide
- Basque Aromatics – Mix ingredients in a clean jar, cover, and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Pastry Cream -Prepare and cool in advance. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Immediately remove from heat, cover and set aside.In a medium bowl, beat sugar, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks together until pale yellow and thick. Beat in vanilla extract.Gradually beat hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Pour everything back into the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Immediately reduce heat to low and whisk vigorously for 2 minutes until custard becomes smooth. Remove from heat and whisk another 30 seconds. Pour back into the bowl and whisk in butter until melted. Stir in cream and Basque Aromatics. Let cool, stirring from time to time. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- Cake Dough – Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter with medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. With the motor running, gradually add sugar and cream and beat until very light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.Set aside 2 tablespoons of beaten egg and add the rest a spoonful at a time to the mixer bowl with the motor still on low. Add the Basque Aromatics and ¼ of the flour. Once combined, add the remaining flour and gather into a ball. Be careful not to overmix or knead the dough. Dust top lightly with flour, and then invert into a separate bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight.
- Assemble and Bake -Divide dough into 2 unequal parts, one slightly larger than the other. Roll dough into a 10-inch circle between 2 pieces of lightly floured wax paper. Remove the top sheet of wax paper and invert the dough onto an 8-inch cake pan. Remove paper and press down to line the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the edges and fill bottom with pastry cream. Gently warm black cherry preserves and cover pastry cream. Roll the smaller dough into an 8-in circle and lay over the filling. Crimp the edges and place in refrigerator to chill completely.Place a large baking pan on the lowest rack in the oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C). Dilute reserved beaten egg with 1 tsp cream and brush the pastry. Score the top of the cake with fork tines or a knife to create a decoration. Poke 3 holes to let steam escape during cooking. Place on the heated pan in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 375°F (190°C). Bake until the cake turns a light golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Invert out of pan onto a wire rack. Invert again to cool on the rack and harden a bit. Serve at room temperature, cut into wedges.