Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gâteau Basque au Fraise

A Basque specialty that has pastry cream encased in a light shortdough pastry
(will make a 20cm square tart)

Ingredients for dough
260g/9oz butter
185g/6.5oz sugar
zest of a lemon (better if organic or not treated)
1 pinch of salt
125g (1/4lb) almond meal
1 egg + 1 yolk, cold
325g/11.5oz all purpose flour (T45 in France)

Ingredients for strawberry cream
150g/5oz of strawberry puree
75g/2.5oz whole milk
35g/1.5oz sugar
25g/1oz corn starch (Maizena in France)
25g/1oz butter

Ingredients for quick strawberry jam
150g/5oz fresh or frozen strawberries
40g/1.5oz sugar

1 egg yolk

Prepare the dough: in a standup mixer, cream butter, sugar, zest and salt until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until well incorporated. Stop and scrape at least once while incorporating the eggs. Add the almond meal and mix until well incorporated. Stop the machine, add the flour and mix by hand until just incorporated and homogenous. Do not overmix!
Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Prepare the strawberry cream: dissolve well the corn starch in the milk and bring strawberry puree and sugar to a boil in a small pan, add the corn starch mix while whisking vigorously until the mixture is thick and smooth, take off the heat, add the butter, mix well then spread the cream over a cold plate. Put plastic on top and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Prepare the quick jam: mix strawberries and sugar in a small pan, bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Strain the berries, keep aside and boil down the cooking juices until very dense. Mix with the cooked strawberries and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven at 180C/350F.
Butter and flour a tart pan about 4cm deep. Roll about 250g of dough to fit the bottom of the tart pan. It should be about 1cm thick. Make a border all around the bottom by making small "ropes" with pieces of dough. The edge should also be about 1cm deep. Spread the cream inside leaving a "well" in the middle for the jam. Add the cooled jam in the middle, then top with another 1cm thick layer of dough. Brush the top with a beaten egg yolk and draw decorating patterns with the tip of a sharp knife, without cutting through the dough.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let cool completely before serving.