gateau basque cupcakes

This is my first bake in the new apartment! The oven works!

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A woman once asked me if I was from the Basque Region of Spain. I think she was just trying to impress me. I wasn’t. But it did get me to start googling about the Basque Region of Spain and France, which led me to this recipe—>CLICK HERE<—-for Basque Cake.

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Basque Cakes are sort of a cross between pie and cake. They have a cookie-like crust base, a filling, and then are topped with another cookie-like pastry top. The filling is usually a pastry cream or jam filling. Some have cherries or other fruits with the pastry cream, some just have fruits or jam fillings. There are many different kinds, but I was mainly interested in the ones with pastry cream, because I felt that the pastry cream would complement the dry and crumbliness of the cookie-like crust better than some sort of sticky jam. I did have some tart dried cherries that I needed to use, so I decided to add them as well, since this recipe called for it. I think fresh cherries would’ve been better, but we are far from cherry season, unfortunately.

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I also decided to convert the recipe into cupcakes. I think they turned out rather well, if I do say so myself!

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Gateau Basque Cupcakes (adapted from Food and Wine’s Gateau Basque, from Daniel Boulud)

makes 6 jumbo-sized cupcakes

ingredients for the dough:

1 1/2 + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons +3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces + 1 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for brushing molds

1 cup sugar

2 yolks

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup almond flour

for the pastry cream:

one vanilla bean, scraped, or one Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup + 2 Tablespoons milk 1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoon all purpose flour

3 egg yolks

1 egg

optional: 1/2 cup dark sour cherries, soaked in hot brandy or rum for at least an hour, then drained

method

With a pastry brush, brush melted butter thoroughly on the bottoms and sides of each of the six jumbo sized muffin molds. Refrigerate until cold. Leave in refrigerator until ready to use.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk and set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar and cream until fluffy and light. Add the egg yolks, egg, and lemon and almond extracts. Beat until thoroughly combined.

Gradually and slowly beat in the flour mixture and almond flour. Scrape dough into a floured work surface and form into two equal parts, shaping each into disks. Do not handle the dough too much. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least two hours to overnight.

for pastry cream:

In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch, flour, and sugar together. Set aside. Heat up the milk and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan to a simmer. Whisk the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture, then pour back into the sauce pan, stirring constantly until it thickens. Stir constantly with a whisk. Add the yolks and egg and continue to stir constantly over medium heat until heated thoroughly, about 3 minutes more. but being careful not to cook the eggs.

Scrape the pastry cream into another bowl, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface. Let the pastry cream cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate if not using right away.

When ready to use the dough:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

On a lightly floured counter or other work surface, roll out first half of dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out 6 large circles that are slightly larger than the size of a jumbo muffin mold, and press down evenly over the bottoms of each mold, pressing it gently and going up slightly halfway up the sides of each mold.

Divide the pastry cream into each of the 6 molds lined with the bottom dough.

If using the cherries, spread several cherries over each.

Take the second half of dough, divide into 6 equal pieces and roll each into a circle, topping each cupcake and pressing along the edges to keep dough within the edge of each mold.

Do not worry too much about connecting the dough bottoms with the tops, they will fuse together, enclosing the filling completely.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until sufficiently browned. Let cool in molds for about 15 minutes before turning out.

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