Gâteau Basque

When our sour cherries are in bloom I have an abundance that I make into preserves and visinada. I then look for ways to use the preserves and this French classic cake is an excellent way to do so. With a layer of pastry cream and a crumbly exterior, the sour cherries balance perfectly. You can use any preserve for this dish.

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1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups preserves
Egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon milk)
Icing sugar for dusting

Ingredients – Pastry Cream
1 cup 2% milk
3/4 cup 35% cream
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start by preparing the pastry cream so that it can cool. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream and vanilla powder until it begins to steam. In a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until they become pale in colour. Add the rum and vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated. Add the flour and mix until well blended. Slowly pour in the hot milk. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and, while whisking constantly, cook over low heat for about 4 minutes until it thickens. Strain the pastry cream through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. The mixture is creamy and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until cool.

Prepare the cake shell in a food processor by adding the sugar and butter and pulsing together. In a bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and pulse until a soft dough forms and the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap into two portions, one larger than the other. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While your dough is chilling, prepare your baking flan. If you have a 9” cake ring, you can use this or you can use a flan pan with a removable bottom (this will also create a nice scalloped edge on the side). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and butter the flan or cake ring and set it on the lined cookie sheet. Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Remove the chilled dough and roll out the larger piece between two pieces of plastic wrap until it is slightly larger than the flan size. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap and lift the dough with the bottom sheet. Place the dough upside down into the flan as centered as possible. Press in the dough into the sides and remove the plastic wrap. Spread the preserves evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Add the pastry cream and spread over the preserves. Roll out your second dough to just a slightly smaller size than the tart pan and place it on top of the pastry cream. Turn over the edges of the flan to “seal” the crusts together. Use a knife to make shallow slask marks to allow steam to escape (or use a fork to score the top). Brush with the egg wash and bake for 55 minutes. Allow to rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove, place a serving plate over the cake and invert. Remove the ring and dust with icing sugar. Makes 1 cake (8 servings).

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