21 Mar 2011

Gâteau Basque d'Itxassou

Serves: 6
Preparation: 20 mins (+ 2 hours)
Cooking: 30 mins

Cherry Pie meets Bakewell Tart and Linzer Cookies (minus the almonds!) for this easy-peasy Southern pudding! I made it for the first time last Sunday and it certainly won't be the last! Although it might not look like much on the picture, first impressions are deceptive. This unassuming little treat will be an instant hit, thanks to its gorgeously rich taste and melting texture!

The recipe is part of my mum's extensive collection, and is a French Prima vintage cookery number (November 1990 issue), no less!
  • 3 eggs
  • 280g flour
  • 220g salted butter, cut in thin slices
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1 jar good quality cherry jam/ preserve (370g)
  • Pinch of salt
Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the middle. To the well add one whole egg plus the yolks from the other two eggs. Set aside the two egg whites (keep in the fridge). Add the sugar, salt and slightly softened butter slices to the well, and some finely chopped lemon peel (to taste).

Stir together (you will find it easier to use your fingers rather than a spoon or spatula), until you get a smooth yet rather firm dough consistency. Shape it as a ball, leave in the mixing bowl and place on the middle shelf of the fridge for 2 hours (I actually left mine for 18 hours in the fridge and it was fine to work with, despite having hardened!).

Pre-heat the oven (220°C). Butter a baking dish and lightly dust with flour to prevent sticking. Allocate two thirds of the shortbread dough for the bottom of the pie and one third for the upper section (i.e. the lid). Now you can either be traditional and use a rolling pin to roll and flatten the dough - as per the original recipe - or be more hands-on like I: tear one small section of dough at a time, flatten it in your hand and press it down directly onto the baking dish, then assemble other sections of dough in a similar fashion until you obtain a single uniform pastry sheet (with no gaps or holes). Finish off by covering the sides of the baking dish with a ribbon of pastry like you would a tart.

Next scoop cherry jam all over the whole pastry case, before covering it with the remaining pastry (then again either rolled out with a rolling pin and laid on top, or like I did, with a small section of dough at a time, flattened in your hand and carefully applied onto the jam filling, making sure that the final result shows no holes or gaps in the pastry, and that the jam filling is thoroughly encased in pastry.

Lightly prick the surface of the pastry lid with a fork. Brush the reserved egg whites all over the pastry. Bake in the oven for half an hour. The pie should be golden in appearance. Leave to cool down completely before serving.

Perfect as a dessert or to accompany that lovely mid-afternoon cuppa. Easy to make, easy on the palate, moist in texture, buttery in taste, enhanced by the kick of the fruit: what else do we need as a new baking favourite?

1 comment:

  1. I brake for gâteau, which is why I came to a screeching halt here. This looks absolutely delicious, and I think I could make this. Thanks!