This recipe comes to us courtesy of the Mercury News:
Recipe: Gateau Basque
Gerald Hirigoyen, 'The Basque Kitchen'
Posted: 12/02/2008 05:01:00 PM PST
Makes one 9-inch cake
For the dough:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon rum
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon pastis, such as Ricard or Pernod, or an anise-flavored liqueur
Pinch of kosher salt
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
11/2 cups flour
1/3 cup ground almond powder (see note at end of recipe)
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the pastry cream:
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
11/4 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1 cup (about 8 ounces) pitted whole cherries (optional)
Butter for the pan
Flour for the pan
1 egg, beaten lightly with a fork, for glaze
To make the dough, in the work bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until well blended. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the rum, almond extract, pastis and salt.
Add the vanilla bean seeds, flour, almond powder and baking powder. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until they come together to form a firm dough. Form the dough into 2 even balls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.
To make the pastry cream, in the work bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the balloon attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar until frothy. Add the flour and mix these ingredients on medium speed until well combined; set aside.
Bring the milk and vanilla bean to a boil in a large saucepan. As soon as the milk begins to boil, take the pan off the heat, remove the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out of the pod, and stir them into the milk. Discard the pod.
Pour half the boiling milk into the bowl with the egg and flour mixture while stirring ingredients together briskly with a strong wire whisk. Bring the remaining half of the milk back to a boil. As soon as it boils, pour all of the ingredients from the mixing bowl into the pan of boiling milk while whisking vigorously until smooth. Bring to a boil and stir for 1 minute longer. Remove the pastry cream from the heat and spread it on a sheet pan or in a shallow baking dish to cool. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
Lightly flour a work surface and roll out one of the balls of dough into an 11-inch circle, approximately 1/3-inch thick. Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared cake pan; gently press the dough down into the sides of the pan.
Spread the pastry cream in an even layer on top of the pastry dough. If desired, add a layer of cherries.
Roll out the remaining ball of dough into a 9-inch circle, 1/3-inch thick. Carefully drape it over the cake pan, on top of the pastry cream, to form the top layer of the cake. Pinch the edges of the dough together to firmly seal in the filling. Trim off any uneven edges.
For a festive look, dough scraps can be rolled and cut into decorative shapes for the top of the cake before brushing the top with beaten egg. Traditionally, a fork is pulled gently across the egg-washed top to make a freeform design.
Bake until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Turn the cake right side up and let it cool completely. Transfer to a serving plate, and serve at room temperature.
For ground almond powder: This powder can sometimes be found in specialty groceries, but it is easy to make at home. Place 2 cups blanched almonds (sliced, slivered or whole) and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Grind or process until the nuts turn into a fine granular powder, about 30 to 45 seconds. Do not overprocess, or they might turn into paste. Makes about 2 cups.Gerald Hirigoyen, "The Basque Kitchen"
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