Saturday, August 2, 2014
French Fridays with Dorie - Gâteau Basque
Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is "Gâteau Basque“. A traditional dessert from the Basque region of France. There are many versions of this buttery tart. But most recipes call for a flaky pastry crust, with or without ground almonds, filled with either cherry jam or vanilla custard, or both.
Since cherry season is all but over here, it was quite the task to find some deep, dark, burgundy-colored cherries for my thick, homemade, Cherry-Vanilla Jam. But we managed to find some - mind you, I could have planed ahead and bought some earlier in the month. Be that as it may, the first task was transforming the fruit into lovely, not overly sweet, jam, studded with whole fruits and laced with lots of real vanilla using those wonderful and incredibly fragrant, fresh, plump, moist vanilla pods.
While the jam was cooling, I made the buttery pastry for the tart using wheat flour, baking powder, sea salt, really good butter, light brown sugar, white baking sugar, an egg, and the scraped seeds from a whole vanilla bean – it is certainly worth making an extra effort and adding fresh vanilla to your recipes, especially when vanilla is one of the primary flavors in a recipe (along, of course, with the butter and the cherries). I also took the liberty and added a pinch of finely grated organic lemon zest to the dough. That always seems to waken up the taste of these buttery tarts.
After the dough has had a chance to cool for a few hours and the jam has cooled as well, it is time to assemble the tart. I took about two-thirds of the pastry, rolled it to about 5mm thick and lined a well- buttered 28cm French tart pan with removeable bottom. Then, I spooned in the filling, rolled out the remaining pastry and placed it over the top. All that was left to do was to trim the edges, place in the fridge for a good hour prior to baking and then brush with beaten egg and drag the prongs of a fork over in a tartan pattern.
A caveat or rather word of caution when making a Gâteau Basque - the short pastry often breaks when rolled, but can be patched back together in the tart pan. And another remark - since I used a larger tart pan than the recipe called for and had left some of the cherries whole for jam making, I ended up with a somewhat more "bumpy look" for the tart - according to my whole slew of taste testers, "a delightfully rustic and certainly most delicious, personal touch" - there!
Sometimes all you want in a sweet tart is a clean and quiet flavor, very simple and delicate. And this Gâteau Basque recipe certainly delivers. A nice, simple recipe and not unlike my beloved, traditional Dutch Boterkoek that I posted about two weeks ago – those that follow my blog know that we always enjoy these kinds of cakes and love to eat them in the late afternoon with a cup of tea (interested, then take a look here).
To see how much the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this recipe, please go here.
For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for this „Gâteau Basque“ on pages 470-2 in Dorie Greenspan´s "Around my French Table".
You can also consult the website of the Museum dedicated entirely to the Gâteau Basque and find a lovely, traditional French recipe here http://www.legateaubasque.com/la-recette-du-gateau-basque-traditionnel.