Ouf! It’s the word of the week here in Paris where, after nearly 5 weeks, a few things have come to a (happy) end – namely, my time in Paris and a couple of other things I’ve been working on – and I am ready to head back to South West France for a couple of weeks for some R&R with Neil and some good friends. My time in Paris has been fabulous – I’ve managed to cover a lot of the things I wanted to do/ see/ eat as well as catch up with a lot of friends – but it’s been punctuated by the non-functioning oven in my apartment. This is the same apartment I have rented for the past 4 years so it was a bit of a shock coming here and realising that all my baking projects (of which there are many!) might not happen this summer. Fortunately, once we figured out the problem (and realised that the whole oven didn’t need replacing – thank goodness because it’s not going anywhere in the tiny galley kitchen!) it was relatively easy to organise a repairman but then the part wasn’t in stock so I *just* got my oven working yesterday. As in, two days before I leave…
In the meantime, I’ve been eagerly anticipating baking this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe – Gâteau Basque (p 470) – so I prepared myself by purchasing this:
Not your usual holiday purchase but I am sure anyone who knows me won’t be surprised. Hey, it was 10€ with a 2 year guarantee 😉 I am sure I can find somewhere for it to stay until I come to France again and need electric beaters! I was dubious of its abilities (200W didn’t seem so powerful) but was pleasantly surprised. My dough came together, I rolled it out (with a wine bottle) and popped it in the fridge, ready….
Dorie describes a Gâteau Basque as “a dry cake, but delicious.” It’s a kind of buttery cookie/ flat cake filled with either pastry cream or black cherry jam, popular around the holidays because of its sturdy nature and the fact that it is easy to transport. Not to mention the fact that it’s perfect anytime of the day (as in, for breakfast!). The distinguishing feature of a Gâteau Basque is the appearance of the top of the cake – if it’s filled with pastry cream, there’s a crosshatch pattern but if it’s filled with jam, there’s a Basque cross made out of pastry and baked flat on top.
I love the story on Dorie’s site about her and Michael’s trip to the Gâteau Basque museum – yes, I would probably drive for 8 hours just to visit that too! She learned how to make the Gâteau Basque at a demonstration there by Chef Bixente Marichular and brought the recipe home with her, fortunately for us because I think this might be my new favourite (anytime) dessert!
Nervously awaiting the repairman yesterday I was wondering if you could cook the Gâteau Basque in a skillet (contingency plans in case things didn’t go so well with the oven) and also pondered what to do since the recipe called for a cake pan… I didn’t have one and wasn’t going to buy one (no, really!) but figured my dough was so stiff, like cookie dough, that it would be fine. And it was…
I filled mine with a combo of cherry, blueberry and blackcurrant jams but didn’t have enough dough to make the Basque cross on top and it looked kind of odd with no pattern so I used the crosshatch pattern (hey, even Dorie has done the wrong filling/ pattern combo!)…
As you can see, it’s a very flat “gâteau” but it works even sans cake tin. I think I perhaps rolled my dough too thin but having tasted it, I like it kind of thin like this – it feels more virtuous that a giant slice of something…
It baked up in the oven beautifully!
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NEWS: I’ve been chosen as the “Blog of the Month” over on the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution site!
Click here to read the article!
Many of you will know I’m in France for most of the summer. While I will be slowly blogging about things I do here, the best way to keep up with me will be by following my photos which you can do on my Summer 2014 set on Flickr or Instagram where I am @eatlivtravwrite (if you don’t have the app on your phone you can still check out the photos online.