Behind the Kitchen Door: Recipe for Gateau Basque

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This is the delicious French cake that I had the pleasure of making with chef Georges Zidi of Dish in Mahopac.  He was kind enough to allow me to share the recipe.  As I mentioned in my previous post about my day behind the kitchen door at Dish, this is the “basic” version of this tart-like cake.  Because accuracy is key in professional pastry and baking, the ingredients are listed in weight measurements (in metric and standard (imperial) units).  The best part of this cake is that it tastes even better the next day!


GATEAU BASQUE

Note:  Yields 2 cakes

PASTRY CREME:

1  quart  milk
8 yolks
300 grams sugar (10  1/2 oz)
80 grams cornstarch (2  3/4 oz)

CAKE DOUGH:

400 grams  butter; softened (14 1/8 oz)
400  grams  sugar (14  1/8 oz)
8  egg yolks
4  whole  eggs
16  grams yeast active dry (2 packages) (1/2 oz)
800  grams flour; “00” pastry or all purpose, sifted (1  3/4 lbs)
6 grams salt (1/4 oz)

FOR THE PASTRY CREME FILLING:

1.   In a medium heavy saucepan, heat milk on medium heat to boiling. In a heatproof bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Add half of the hot milk to egg mixture whisking briskly to temper (technique to slowly introduce a hot liquid into eggs so that they don’t seize up and curdle, but rather are smoothly incorporated in the mixture). Then, pour all the liquid back to pot and continue to whisk on medium heat until thick. Make sure to push whisk into corners of pot to prevent burning. Cool the pastry creme in fridge until needed for cake.

FOR THE CAKE DOUGH:

1.  Beat butter and sugar together on low (we used a KitchenAid) until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, whole eggs and yeast. Once they are incorporated, add flour and salt, mixing until soft dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a round. Dough will be somewhat sticky. Dust with flour, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge.

TO ASSEMBLE THE GATEAU:

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans, lining bottom with parchment paper.

2.   On a lightly floured work surface, portion dough into four equal parts. Roll dough out into four 8-inch rounds approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. (It’s easy to handle the dough when cold, so rounds can be placed back into fridge as cake is assembled.) Place first round into pan and cover with half of pastry crème. Repeat for second round.

Top pastry creme with remaining rounds and lightly press down on ends to seal. With side of knife, make crosshatch pattern on top of cakes and brush with a beaten egg.

3.  Bake until cakes are golden and tester comes out clean.  Cool.

4.  To serve, run knife around sides of pan and carefully invert on plate. Then, place a second plate on the bottom of cake and turn right side up.

Enjoy a little taste of France!

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About Author

Patrice Costa is a passionate foodie who is on a personal culinary mission to learn it all from local chefs. Currently working at Harvest on Hudson in Hastings on Hudson as a prep cook, her passion and desire is to gain even more experience and knowledge by interning for a day (staging) in some of her favorite restaurant kitchens. Join her as she blogs from behind the kitchen door peeling, dicing, and pureeing her way into her newfound culinary career.

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