French Fridays with Dorie: Gâteau Basque

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:

Hand mixer on eatlivetravelwrite.comNot 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…

Filling Dorie Greenspan Gateau Basque on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd then the oven was working (*happy dance*)… And all seemed right with the world!

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!)…

Gateau Basque for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comAs 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!

Gateau Basque out of the oven on eatlivetravelwrite.comI let it cool slightly before I cut into it…

Slice of Gateau Basque on eatlivetravelwrite.comEt voilà:

Dorie Greenspan Gateau Basque from Around my French Table on eatlivetravelwrite.comOh this is lovely…. Just so tasty. Not fussy. And also easy to make.

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French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves which you can do here on Amazon. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.



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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.

21 thoughts on “French Fridays with Dorie: Gâteau Basque”

  1. I am not sure I would survive having my oven out of commission for so long…
    Congratulations on the blog of the month designation! Woo hoo!

  2. You definitely win the award for determination this week. Your gateau looks wonderful. I used a 9″ pan so mine is also on the flatter side, but I liked it that way too.

  3. This looks delightful! Might there, perchance, be un petit slice waiting for a tired traveller coming off a plane/train tomorrow morning? Just saying… 🙂

    On a wholly different note, I started at that picture of the Hema mixer and your caption for several moments. A mixer for EUR10. That really does say a lot about the decline of civilization, and the detrimental effect on society of our quest for cheaper, cheaper, cheaper and corporate profits, profits, profits. Somewhat saddened me this morn.

  4. Awesome work Mardi and so glad the oven is back to working order! I’m sure you made the most out of those two days. The beautiful gateau basque is enough proof. Good to know that it worked well even without cake pan. I’m thinking of making individual size ones and fitting them into mini cake pans does not sound like fun at all. Now time for some R&R!

  5. Congratulations on the blog of the month! Your “Gâteau Basque” looks delish! Imagine what you can do in your “Canadian Kitchen”. Here’s hoping you do make this on your return. Neil don’t forget to bring in samples to work!! 🙂
    Enjoy your R&R!

  6. What a nightmare the thought of no oven for so long. I have backed a cake in a dutch oven in a fire pit… any backyard? Well, glad all things worked out including the gateau.

  7. Man, we all have been sweating out that oven. Since this may be your all-time favorite dessert from Dorie (Me, too), I am glad you were able to make it. Although, knowing you, you would have improvised and come out with a delicious something. I need to try this again with pastry cream and then will move on to all the preserves. Have a wonderful time in the southwest. Again, congratulations on your Jamie Oliver honor. Very nice and well-deserved.

  8. Congratulations on blog of the month. This recipe is definitely a keeper, I look forward to making it again.

  9. I’m so happy you were able to do at least this baking project before you left Paris. The gateau looks fabulous. Nice to know the pan isn’t required. Congrats on being blog-of-the-month. I know you have high regard for Jamie Oliver, so it’s wonderful to see it being reciprocated.

  10. Congratulations!! Blog, oven, gorgeous dessert!!

    I am so happy things came together so that you could make this dessert! I thought it was very nice too – I made mine in a larger pan… I think you could do a lot with this concept! Yours looks delicious! .

  11. well I’m certainly glad your oven has come back online!! It’s frustrating not being able to use the oven, we use ours all the time – no matter the weather – and its cramping our style, not to be able to use it.

    Your gateau looks great and congrats on the blog of the month – that is so exciting!!

  12. After 18 months in Mount Isa…..I really must finish unpacking my cookbooks – just hafta find my Dorie cookbook.

    I am now the proud owner of three cupboards, with wardrobes to arrive in six weeks time – so let the unpacking frenzy begin…..goodbye cardboard boxes 🙂

    Now I really have no excuse to not search for Dorie in earnest so I can stop drooling over your post every Monday morning and get a-cooking n a-baking!!!!

  13. Mardi, congratulations!! What an achievement! I admire you. I’m a passionate supporter of Jamie Oliver’s initiative. My 10 years son loves this blog and I personally learned so much from it.
    Keep up the good work!

    I wish you a great stay in France and fabulous food-sampling experiences!!
    (I’m on vacation in Toronto right now, realizing you are in France at this time.)

    All the best!

    • PS. Mardi, my 10 years old son loves french macaroons and I work hard on learning to make them at home; if you had been in Toronto at the time of our vacation, we would have joined your macaroons class…I truly ope we could make it some time in the future.

  14. Such kitchen adventures- my stateside renovation does not hold a candle to juggling updates in France (love the wine bottle rolling pin btw). Awesome results for awesome effort and yes, this is a new favorite around here too 🙂

  15. I think the thinness gives it elegance. I’m glad everything worked out for you! I finally made this this week and won’t wait long to make it again.


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