Welcome to Nevada! Long before the state became know for gambling and skiing, it was known for gold. During the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, many people made this region their new home. One of the more unlikely groups was that from the Basque region of France. When they came, they brought with them the delicious “Gateau Basque” or Basque Cake.
It is a delicious combination of pastry, cherry jam and pastry cream. It is a little tricky to assemble, but very delicious. We have already made it three times and it is yet to look like any of the pictures that we see on the internet. The good news is that even if it doesn’t look very pretty, it is still delicious!
1 3/4 C whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C flour
1/2 t almond extract (or 1 t vanilla extract)
Double Crust Pastry (see recipe below or use pre-made)
3/4 C Cherry Preserves
Egg Wash made with 1 egg yolk and 1 T water (optional)
For the pastry cream:
Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until tiny bubbles form around the edge. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Add in flour and stir until smooth.
While whisking the egg mixture, slowly pour the milk into the bowl with the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until thick, whisking often. This should take about 3-5 minutes.
Strain mixture through a sieve to remove any bits of cooked egg. Add the almond (or vanilla) extract. Place a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill completely, at least 3 hours. If the cream is not fully chilled, it will “break” when the cake is cooking.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
For the pastry:
Roll out and trim pastry. You will want to cut the pastry into a circle before assembling. Trimming the pastry once it is in the pan is difficult. Two circles of pastry are necessary, one slightly larger than the other.
When fitting in the larger piece you will need about 2 inches of dough to come up the sides of the springform pan. If you are using a 8-inch pan, this would require two circles of dough, one with a diameter of 12 inches, the other 10 inches.
Into an 8-inch springform pan, place the larger piece of dough and gently press into place. On top of the pastry, spread out the cherry preserves. Gently put the pastry cream on top of the layer of preserves. Finally, place the top layer of pastry on top of the cream. Seal the edges of the two pieces of pastry together.
Brush the surface with egg wash if desired. Bake at 325 F for 60 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour before slicing.
Double Crust Pastry
1 c butter, chilled and cut into small (ie 1/2 inch) pieces.
2 1/2 c flour
1 t salt
6-8 T ice water (amount depends on humdiity)
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse flour and salt. Add butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas (this takes about 20-30 pulses). With the food processor running, add the water through the feed tube 1 T at a time until the dough comes together. Divide into two, one piece slightly larger than the other. Flatten each into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.