Wednesday 12 September 2018
I came across le Gateau Basque whilst staying in a small village called Sare in the Pyrenees Atlantiques, just inland from St Jean de Luz and Biarritz. These traditional cakes are very popular with locals who come and stock up for a family get together and are standard fare on the dessert menu at the hotels in the area.
The cake is made up by mixing up a butter and sugar pastry dough or ‘pâte sablée’ with a choice of fillings of almond or vanilla crème patissier or a local black cherry jam preserve. In some ways it's similar to our Bakewell Tart and makes a simple but stunning dessert served with custard (crème anglaise) or crème fraiche.
Get the recipe for Gateau Basque in French
Recipe for Le Gateau Basque
6 egg yolks + 3 whole eggs
320g caster sugar
450g plain flour
1 sachet (7g) baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsps golden rum
1 vanilla pod
Preheat the oven to 180C, Mark 5, 350F.
For the pastry dough
Put 100g butter (cut into small pieces), 200g caster sugar and the salt into a bowl. Rub in well and then incorporate 4 egg yolks and 2 eggs. Work to a smooth (not sticky) dough. Sift 400g flour and baking powder together and mix into the dough, forming a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes minimum.
For the filling
Pour the milk and vanilla pod into a pan. (Tip : Rinse the pan beforehand with water to prevent the milk from sticking). In a bowl, beat 120g caster sugar, 2 yolks and the remaining egg until it is frothy. Bring the milk and vanilla pod to the boil and then remove the vanilla pod. Remove from the heat and then gradually pour half of this onto the egg mixture, stirring all the time. Then pour this mixture onto the remaining milk in the pan and heat gently, again stirring all the time until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Cover with clingfilm and allow to cool at room temperature.
To assemble the Gateau Basque
Roll out the dough to about ½ cm (¼ inch) thick and cut 2 circles to the size of the 20 cm/8 inch tart/flan dish. Place the first circle in the dish and pour the filling to 2 cms from the edge of the dish. Lay the second pastry circle over the top. Brush with beaten egg and make a pattern with fork prongs over the top. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until the Gateau is a golden colour. Allow to cool before serving. (Tip : It tastes better the following day if you can wait!)
Meryl says : I discovered that there is a Fete du Gateau Basque at Cambo les Bains every October where local pâtissière, Marianne Hyrigoyen invented the original recipe in the 1830s. You can visit the Gateau Basque Museum in Sare to learn how to bake this gorgeous cake.
Bon appetit ! On egin !