Thursday, January 1, 2015

Basque Cake (Gâteau Basque , Pastel Vasco)



Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all had a safe New Years Eve and are enjoying a relaxing New Years Day, 2015.

Last night we were invited to a New Year's Eve Party at the home of dear friends. Our hosts decided on a Spanish theme for the party. Paella was to be the main course and each couple was asked to bring a tapas to share. My husband and I were asked to bring a dessert.


After doing a little research on Spanish desserts, I found this rustic dessert cake called Pastel Vasco in Spain and Gâteau Basque in France.  It is a traditional dessert of the Basque region of both countries which border the western Pyrenees mountain range.


It is made with a buttery egg dough and a vanilla pastry cream filling. I found some versions included almond flour in the dough and filling. Sometimes, there is a layer of cherry preserves also. The typical plaid pattern etched into the top of the cake is also traditional with other designs indicating different types of filling. The cake received great reviews from the other guests and I must agree it was wonderful.


I decided to use Mimi Thorissen's recipe for the cake dough from her new cookbook A Kitchen in France with a few slight alterations to the assembly of the cake. The dough is wonderfully buttery and tastes almost like a light cookie dough which puffs up beautifully while baking. For the vanilla pastry cream filling I used a recipe from a local French bistro that I also used in my post about Fruit Baluchons.  The sweet cherry sauce is a recipe I created just for this dessert.  My other additions were to add a couple of tablespoons of ground almonds and lemon zest to the bottom of the tart just before adding the filling. 


It was a deliciously wonderful way to end 2014.  Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2015! 


Basque Cake


Cake Dough Adapted from My Kitchen in France
Printable Recipe

Serves 6-8

For the Vanilla Pastry Cream

1-1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract)
1/3 cup sugar
7 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch (sifted)
4 very large egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter

For the cake dough:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh baking powder

Sweet cherry sauce for serving:

1 package frozen sweet pitted cherries, quartered
1/2 cup tart cherry preserves
2-3 tablespoons Triple Sec or Grand Marnier (optional), or lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
Toasted slivered almonds for garnish (optional)

For assembling:

1- 8 or 9" non-stick tart pan with removable bottom
1 egg yolk plus a pinch of salt for brushing over the cake
1 tablespoons of ground almonds
1 teaspoon of lemon zest

First make the pastry cream:

Place milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Split and scrape the vanilla bean and add it to the milk along with the scrapings (or use pure vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste as I did). Bring milk mixture to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl and using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the sugar, cornstarch and yolks until the mixture turns pale yellow. Gradually pour a little hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture while whisking constantly. Keep adding the hot milk a little at a time until you have added at least 1 cup of hot milk while whisking. Return all of the yolk mixture to the pan with the milk over medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Remove the vanilla bean, if using. Pour the cream into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly over the thickened cream. This will prevent a skin for forming. Place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Make the cake dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the sugar and butter until smooth. Gradually add the eggs and egg yolks, mixing until the dough is smooth. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix well. The dough will be soft. Divide dough in half,shape into 2 balls and wrap in plastic wrap, flattening into discs. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

After the cream has sufficiently chilled you may proceed to assemble the cake.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 8" tart pan or butter a round cake pan and dust with flour. (If pan with removable bottom, this step is not necessary.)

Roll out each ball of dough, one at a time on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Roll the first piece into a round about 1-2 inches wider than bottom of the pan so that there is a slight overhang. Roll out the second piece of dough about the same size of the bottom of the tart pan.

To assemble the cake, line the pan with the larger piece of dough, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Sprinkle the ground almonds and lemon zest on the bottom, then fill with the refrigerated pastry cream. Place the smaller piece of dough over the filling.


Stir together the egg yolk and pinch of salt. Brush the overhang of the dough with the egg wash and press the edges together to seal, folding the overhang up and over the smaller piece of dough. Press to seal with your fingers making a rim of dough around the edge of the pan. Brush the top of the cake with more of the egg wash and use a fork to score lines on the top of the cake in the traditional plaid pattern. Make 3 or 4 tiny slits in the top of the cake to allow steam or escape.

Bake the cake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 40 minutes before serving.

While cake is baking, make cherry sauce. Stir together quartered sweet cherries, preserves, liqueur (if using) or lemon juice and lemon zest. Serve along side cake. Toss a few toasted slivered almonds over the sauce.

Notes:  This cake tastes best eaten the same day.  Leftover dough can be used to make cookies.  Brush with egg wash and prick with a fork and bake about 9-11 minutes at 350F, depending on how thick you make the cookies.  

58 comments:

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  2. Susan what a lovely dessert with almond flour and vanilla paste with cherry sauce, sounds very delicious something that I like a lot it looks very nice your pictures also and I'm just relaxing my New Years Day but I have been sick Susan to Christmas and all the way but it's better that I relax so I can get better soon but your dessert is really lovely.

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    1. Thank you, Rosa. I'm so sorry you've been ill. There is so much of that going around and I was ill myself earlier in the week! Take care.

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    2. please stop by when you have a moment Susan and thank you so much.

      http://maggiggie55.blogspot.ca/2015/01/tbb-chocolate-cuddle-cake-jan-5-2015.html?m=1

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  3. I have had this once..and have plans to make..
    I am torn between my traditional cake of the Kings..or this one..
    That girl..is just so beautiful..I have put her book on a stand on the counter..and I glance at her every day..funny thing for a woman to say..but really is exquisite as are her children.
    She looks way better than I do in her Hunter boots..:)
    yours looks so beautiful.

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    1. Thank you, Monique! It was so good and I'll definitely make this again as we all loved it. I so agree about Mimi and family :) Gorgeous, all of them.

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  4. Happy New Year! Here's to a wonderful 2015. Beautiful cake!

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  5. Happy new year dear Susan :)
    Yours is one of my favorite blogs:)
    This look delicious!!
    xo

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  6. A fun theme for a New Years Eve party and your dessert looks perfectly wonderful! Best wishes for 2015, sweet blogging friend!

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    1. Thank you, Lorraine! Happy New Year to you and your dear family.

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  7. Absolutely beautiful Spanish dessert. I had the pleasure of visiting Spain this summer. The food is unbelievably good.

    Happy New Year! I am looking forward to enjoying your posts in 2015.

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    1. Thank you, Velva. Spain is a beautiful country. I was there years ago, I remember your trip ;). Happy new year!

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  8. So pretty...just watched Martha Stewart bake this or something very similar. I was fascinated by the design created on the top.

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    1. Thank you, Vee. My design didn't turn out as pretty as others I've seen but it was still very tasty :)

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  9. Buttery crust and creamy filling...a fantastic combination, Susan.
    Happy New Year, Susan!

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  10. I know I'd love this beautiful cake Susan! Happy New Year, wishing you a wonderful 2015:@)

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  11. Your friends certainly asked the right couple to bring the dessert. It looks divine. We would love to visit the Basque region of France one day. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy your cake. Happy new year to you and your family Susan.
    Sam

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    1. That would be a wonderful trip, Sam! Thanks so much and Happy New Year!

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  12. Susan, this looks absolutely delicious! I received Mimi's beautiful cookbook for Christmas and can't wait to spend some time with it!! Wishing you all the best in 2015.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. The book is gorgeous, isn't it? Thanks so much Bonnie, and Happy New Year!

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  13. It looks delicious,the creamy filling is to die for ! I wish you and your family a bright and happy New Year, a warm hug from Italy !

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    1. Thank you, Chiara! The filling is delightful! Happy New Year to you and a warm hug :)

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  14. What a beautiful cake! With the pastry cream and cherry sauce, I know it was delicious. :) Happy New Year!

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  15. What a beautiful gateau, it looks absolutely delicious :D
    I love the delicious filling! Happy New Year my friend!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  16. The guests must have been in heaven when they had a bite of your cake, Susan. It's lovely and your photos do it justice! Pastry cream is divine layered in a cake...I usually can't keep my spoon out of it when I make it.
    A perfect dessert for a party with a Spanish theme and a great start to the new year!

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    1. Thank you, Barbara! To me, it's the best part too :)

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  17. What a grand finale for a lovely evening. I'm so intrigued - I have to try this recipe. The cream filling looks delicious and your presentation is beautiful. Best wishes to you and your family for a healthy and very happy 2015.

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! I'm so glad I tried it also. It was a wonderful new taste experience. Happy New Year to you!

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  18. what a lovely cake! I've never seen pastry cream baked into it like that. Very cool!

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  19. You did a wonderful job on your cake Susan. So glad that the flu did not keep you down. I love all of the personal changes you made to the recipe. I'm sure that is why it was such a hit. Beautiful.

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    1. I'm so glad I felt better too, Penny. Thank you!

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  20. This cake is spectacular --- I love that crust! I'm not sure I could pull it off, but I love looking at it :) Happy New Year Susan!

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    1. I'm sure you could do it, Sue ;). Thank you!

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  21. Wow, what an absolutely beautiful cake! I love the creamy center! Pinning to make soon! Thank you Susan and hope you're having a great start to the new year!
    Roz

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    1. The center is the best, Roz. Thanks so much!

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  22. What a beautiful cake! It looks and sounds delicious. I enjoy theme dinners-, Susan. We went to a Joyeux Noel French themed Christmas party and I made a apple franipane tart for dessert

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    1. Me too! I'll bet your tart was wonderful!

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  23. Happy New Year Susan. I love themed parties like this. And your cake looks incredible. No wonder you get invited. :)

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    1. They are so much fun. All of our friends are into cooking which makes it lots of fun.

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  24. Happy New Year Susan...this cake looks fabulous, I love the texture of this cake...and yes the pastry cream in the center of this cake makes it even more delicious.
    Enjoy your week :)

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    1. Thank you, Juliana! Happy new year to you!

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  25. I've never seen anything like this, but it looks fabulous! I'm pinning for future paella dinners! So pretty, too! Happy new Year, Susuan!

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  26. Very Happy New Year to you Susan! Let 2015 be another one year of delicious creations and beautiful photos! This dessert looks absolutely divine!

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    1. I'm looking forward to its Katerina! Happy new year!

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  27. What an interesting cake Susan, sounds absolutely wonderful. Happy 2015!

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    1. Thanks so much, Cheri! Happy 2015 to you!

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  28. Hi Susan,
    That is one lovely dessert! I have never heard of it before, and now I've learnt something new!
    Happy New Year to you too!

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  29. This looks and sounds delicious, Susan. What a beautiful presentation with that layer of custard in the center.
    Wishing you all the best of 2015.

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  30. What a fabulous dessert, Susan. You have some very lucky friends to be able share such a thing. I would love to try this -- as usual you make it seem so easy. Great way to start a New Year!

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