Gâteau Basque is one of my favourite desserts – it’s definitely not fancy but it’s ever so delicious! I’ve made this countless times over the past few years (the first time using Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in a tiny galley kitchen in a Paris rental apartment)
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 Dorie’s story 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 it’s how I discovered how easy this is to make (it’s a very recipe popular in my adult cooking classes).
At that demonstration, the chef used and suggested “crystal sugar” and while Dorie doesn’t use this in her recipe, recently in my Gâteau Basque I’ve been using turbinado raw cane sugar which does add a lovely crunch to the crust. After a recent class, I had some dough leftover and used it to make individual Gâteau Basque which were so good that I can’t not share! Note that they are so small and I only had *so much* dough that I ended up doing the crosshatch pattern on top, even though they are filled with jam (it’s supposed to be a Basque cross on top for that filling).
For the pastry
For filling and baking
Make the dough
Assemble and bake
Happy French Friday!
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