Gâteau Basque is a true pleasure from the Pays Basque that's become hugely popular outside is borders. This striated golden cake, with it pleasantly softy crust, is unequally regal, whether stuffed with almond or rum flavored pastry cream or black cherry spread or both. The cherries used are from Itxassou; a village in the French Basque Country. These incredible black cherries “incroyable cerises noires'' are harvested near by. They are so rare that today just 3 tons are harvested each year. In contrast, Washington State produced 243,800 tons of cherries in 2018.
Make a day a head. For a 9-inch/23 cm diameter/1-inch/2.5 cm tall fluted tart pan. Cake pan works too. If using a regular tart ring, the dough should be rolled out slightly thinner, and the amount of the almond pastry cream shall be reduced by 30%, otherwise the filling may overflow during cooking. The Itxassou cherry spread can be ordered online or other brands can be purchased in many grocery stores. If you plan to make this gateau basque stuffed with cherry spread only, use 7 ounces/300g.
*Black cherry fruit spread from local producer can be used instead. Pit cherrie and halve them all making sure there is no pits left behind. In a small saucepan, heat up pitted cherries with sugar (170g). Meanwhile, mix pectin with sugar (10g) and add it to the hot cherries and stir up until it boils. Remove from the heat and roughly mix using an immersion blender to break down cherries. Bring back to boil and cook for 4 mins on medium heat. Cool off cherry marmalade and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Cherry marmalade can last awhile in the refrigerator. This cherry spread is excellent for your morning toasted baguette and Ossau-Iraty cheese sandwich...
Place a large baking tray in the freezer. Cut cold butter into cubes. Follow the same mixing protocol if making dough by hand or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. First, sand together cubed and chilled butter along with flour, baking powder, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla. Add egg yolks and mix until combined and smooth – do not over mix. Wrap pastry in plastic film and refrigerate for a couple or hours or best overnight. Or, take out 60% of the freshly made basque dough and sandwich it between a baking mat and parchment paper. For the bottom cake, roll out into a 11-inch/28 cm Ø X 0.20-inch/5 mm thick disk and freeze.
Grease tart pan with soften butter and cooking spray or do butter and flour. Leave frozen pastry disk out for a few minutes. As soon as it becomes pliable, pick up the pastry and drape over the tart pan. Gently mold the pastry into the pan and press around the edges of the tart base. Make sure the pastry is flushed against the case all the way around. Run a knife around the edge of the tart pan to cut away any excess pastry. Place tart shell in the freezer until ready to use. Gather dough scraps together and keep refrigerated.
Heat up milk with vanilla, and one third of the sugar. Meanwhile, mix egg yolks with sugar and starch. As soon as milk is boiling, temper yolk mixture with one third of the hot milk. Pour tempered egg mixture into remaining hot milk; mixing constantly. Set burner to medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes whisking swiftly. Remove pan from the heat. Transfer custard to the mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Add butter and mix on medium speed until cool. This technique allows the custard to reach the perfect consistency. Add almond extract to taste (go easy otherwise you will ruin the cake!), add almond meal; set aside or refrigerate for later use.
Grab the the frozen shell and cover with 5 ounces/140g cherry spread and the whole custard, freeze again. Meanwhile, roll out remaining pastry into a 4 mm disk and refrigerate or freeze it for 10 min or so. Then, enclose gâteau basque with pastry chasing air out as you go. Run a rolling pin around the edge of the tart pan to cut away any excess pastry and refrigerate cake. You should not have that much left. Make a couple of cookies with scraps. Or, freeze for you next gateau basque. When you plan to make it, leave scraps at room temperature to soften completely and throw it to the freshly made pastry at the end of mixing.
The cake must be chilled. Brush evenly over the top of the cake and refrigerate for 15 mins and repeat. Use a fork to score from noon to six and do likewise on the sides. Rotate cake and do cross pattern again but once to form losanges. Make a few holes on top using a toothpick. Refrigerate cake for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 6 weeks. If so, cake would have to be thawed overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Bake gateau basque for about 40/45 minutes. Let cool completely before removing
Gateau Basque is best eaten at room temperature. Otherwise cut cake in four and wrap in plastic film and keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. Another way of enjoying gateau basque is to flash oven it. Pop in a 450ºF/230ºC oven for 5 min or so. Bon appétit! On Egin in Basque 🌞
12 thoughts on “Gâteau Basque”
I made this yesterday to freeze the large one for a get together in a few days, but had enough to make an extra mini cake for my wife and I to try first.
“I’m not a huge fan of cherries” is what she said before, but now she’s asking if I can make it again.
Massive success, the flavors and texture of the crust are awesome!
Congratulations! I am glad it was a blast 🌞
I am German, however lived for 20 years quite close to the Basque region in Toulouse. And we regularly enjoyed our Gâteau Basque. So Im feeling competent to comment on your recipe ;-): There is a bit of work to be done, but it is not difficult. And the result is the very best Gâteau Basque we ever had: Fresh, creamy, with the taste of the homemade marmelade from fresh cherries with a bit of lime juice. You cannot buy such a cake wonder in a regular pastry shop ! I made the follwoing, very small modifications, which I can really recommend:
– No problem to use up to 100 g (homemade as well) almond meal.
– Don’t throw away the egg yolks above 60 g weight – add them to the cream !
– Do not underestimate the strong taste of almond extract, be careful, 4 drops should be largely enough ! However, 4 tablespoons of good rum gave the final kick without adding an alcoholic taste to the cream.
All in all a wonderful, excellent Recipe, for which I am really grateful ! Thank you so much for sharing it !
Hi Stefan, thank you for sharing your gateau basque experience. There is indeed many variations. Well, there is no egg whites neither in the dough nor pastry cream in gateau basque making. The reason behind is that egg whites make things fluffier and therefore subject to dry out faster..and it modifies the final texture of custards.. which is not the purpose here. Egg whites are never wasted tho; they can be used in so many recipes and even omelet or sunny side up eggs.. Here it comes: Cook 4 egg whites and one whole egg.. season, enjoy… Egg whites can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks and frozen for months. The problem when using rum is that you need a fair amount to flavor something out.. Pernod or Ricard is a great addition to gateau basque but does not pair well with cherry.. Using extracts is way cheaper and do the same with less but not in all cases though.. and of course, extracts must be used accordingly. Voila! 🌞
Sorry, little misunderstanding (my English is just not good enough 😒): I am not talking about egg white, but egg yolks. You will always have some more than needed, in my case I had 72 g. I did not put it away, but used it for the cream instead of the 60 g in the recipe. Together with some more almond meal it went very well. In addition I am mainly talking about the wonderful taste of rum, which is very popular in France and goes well with the cream, especially when using some additional almond meal. For sure you may take cheap rum „aroma/flavor“, which has nothing to do do with the alcoholic beverage. I used bottled rum with really good success.
I made this sweet, it was wonderful, 😍😍😍but why did the surface of the top of the dough crack after baking?
Well, I m not sure what causes the cracks.. Please register to my online community on my academy page. That will offer you an opportunity to share your experiences with other students and myself and thus, you’ll get all the feedbacks you need…🌞
I dont have pectin NH. Can you please tell me how much gelatin to substitute for?
Well, in this configuration pectin cannot be subbed.
I tried this recipe for the first time. It came out wonderfully. Everyone loved it.
I used amarena halves due to lack of fresh cherries. The amarena cherries go fine with almonds.
I have to say, this is a wonderful recipe. While I personally find it slightly on the sweet side and might cut back in the sugar a little bit the creamy filling and the wonderful crust are nothing short of sensational. Easily one of the best gâteau basks I’ve ever had. My guests devoured the entire cake within minutes and several asked for the recipe. Interestingly I used a 24cm fluted tarte pan and have plenty of dough left, I believe it might actually be enough for an entire second cake. Not sure if I I missed something but sure as hell nothing to complain about. As always the recipe, the instructions and Bruno’s execution are flawless and precise. Thank you and congratulations, Sir, for your continued excellence. M.
Thank you Maurice 🌞..Well, you can’t really drop the sugar too much on Gateau Basque.. that could compromise its orignal texture…