Tomorrow is my birthday and I’ll be on a plane at 6 am for work out of town, but I was able to celebrate earlier this week with family and friends. I’m still in the process of remodeling the living/dining room areas of our house, but the major parts are pretty much done so it was nice to be able to have people over to eat in a space that felt more like our own. One of my best friends came to visit from Los Angeles, too, so it made for a really memorable weekend. And right before she arrived, I made this buttery little jam-filled tart.
It’s known as ‘gateau basque’ and while the French word for cake is in the title, is has more of a tart-like feel and appearance. The dough’s ingredients and texture reminded me a lot of chocolate chip cookie dough without the chocolate chips, so you can imagine how tasty it was. To assemble the tart, you basically divide the dough in half and roll the pieces out into (2) 8-inch circles. You lay one flat in a cake pan place some jam or pastry cream in the center, then lay the other flattened dough disc over it and seal the edges together with your fingers, creating the ultimate stuffed tart. I went the jam route because I had some homemade raspberry jam leftover from the summer, but the idea of pastry cream or even a custard filling sounded pretty spectacular too.
The pattern on the top is made by raking a fork over the crust after you’ve brushed it with egg wash. The pattern I chose was based off of a piece of old Hungarian embroidery I had, and it turns out it is also a popular symbol in Basque culture known as the ‘lauburu‘, which I learned from a Basque follower on instagram after I posted a picture of it (yay instagram!) The jam bakes away in the center of the tart, making the crust it’s touching extra moist and fruity, while keeping the exposed areas of the tart golden and crispy. The combination of the buttery spiced crust with the sweet fruity jam is ridiculously pleasant, and I definitely plan on making this again with the pastry cream, perhaps infusing the cream itself with another fruity element, like pureed blackberry. Mmmmm.
Also, the first episode of my and Carey’s podcast, First We Eat, is out! We’ve been talking about making the podcast for over a year now, so it’s been a longtime in the making. We basically wanted to create a space in the podcast universe for food nerds like ourselves, people who want to know things like why salami has fuzz and what it’s made out of, or how a sous vide works. Our first episode is all about nutmeg, both its brutal history and use as a hallucinogenic drug. You can take a listen here and also subscribe in iTunes for future episodes.
We also have a couple spaces left for the Cape Cod photography, styling, & cheese making workshop left, you can register here. We’d love to have you!
And a big thanks to Michael from Michael’s Woodcraft for the beautiful walnut paddle board used in this post. It’s so gorgeous that it has now found a permanent new home hanging on the wall in my kitchen, on display so I can admire its loveliness everyday while I work 🙂
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until blended. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars at medium low speed until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then begin to gradually add the flour mixture to the dough, mixing at low speed until just incorporated.
Place a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap on a large flat work surface. Divide the dough in half and roughly shape each half into a sphere with your hands. Place one half in the center of the plastic wrap and pat it down a bit, then lay another sheet of plastic wrap down on top of it. Roll it flat with a rolling pin into the shape of a circle until it is about 1/4 inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Place the wrapped discs of dough on a baking sheet or cutting board and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease an 8-inch cake pan and set aside. Remove both discs of dough from the refrigerator and peel the wrapping off one of the discs. Place it in the bottom of the cake pan, pressing it into the bottom and up against the sides with your fingers so that it covers the entire bottom of the pan. Empty the jam or pastry cream onto the center of the dough and spread it slightly flat, making sure to leave a 2-inch border around the edge without filling so you can eventually seal the edges of the dough together.
Dip your finger in warm water and trace it around the edge of the dough in the pan. Peel the wrapping off the second disc of dough and gently place on top of the filling. Press the edges together, going around the edge of the circle, to seal in the filling.
Brush the top of the tart with the egg wash and drag a fork across the top to make a design. Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before gently running a knife around the edge of the pan and inverting the tart onto a wire rack. Immediately flip the tart back over so that it cools with the design facing up. Allow to cool for 20 minutes or so before serving.