Twist on Classics
The gâteau basque is a traditional treat found in many bakeries in the Basque region of France and Spain. The buttery-almond crust is usually filled with black cherry preserves or pastry cream. Often baked in large squares or various-sized circles, it is firm enough to hold the filling, but tender and cake-like when you bite into it. We had fun varying the shape and fillings just to try something new.
1-3/4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2-3/4 cup fruit preserves or pastry cream
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp water
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and almond flour. Mix for 3-4 minutes until evenly combined. Add the egg and almond extract and mix until the dough comes together. Do not over-mix.
The dough will be very sticky. Place it between two pieces of parchment or wax paper. Flatten it into a disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for easier handling.
Remove dough from the refrigerator, but keep it in between the parchment paper while rolling it out. Gently roll it with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thickness or slightly more. Roll out a bottom and top crust to the approximate shape of your pan. Press the bottom crust into the pan. Don’t worry if it tears or breaks, it’s very forgiving if you patch it together.
Fill with either fruit preserves or pastry cream (or both). Use 2 Tbsp filling for small, individual pans or 3/4 cup for one large pan. Don’t over-fill. The crust will expand while baking and fill in the air pockets.
Cover with the top layer of crust and press the edges to seal. Seal up any tears in the top crust if necessary to prevent the filling from spilling out. Combine ingredients for egg wash and brush over top crust.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown. Let cool completely before eating.
This dough makes one 9-inch or four 3-inch individual gâteaux. It can accommodate various pans of similar proportions.