Pain de Gênes with Rosemary and Tonka Bean Crème Anglaise

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4–6

    • Difficulty

      Medium

    • Ready in

      1 hr 30

Appears in

French Countryside Cooking

French Countryside Cooking

By Daniel Galmiche

Published 2021

  • About

I have loved pain de gênes since I was a boy. It was an afternoon cake at home, often served when we had visitors, and is similar to a genoise sponge but with toasted flaked almonds on top. For an exotic twist, I’m serving it with a chilli, rosemary and tonka bean crème anglaise and sprinkling it with hazelnuts. Tonka beans, by the way, are wrinkled black seeds with an aroma reminiscent of vanilla and almond – you can buy them online if they are not available in your supermarket.

Ingredients

For the Pain De Gênes

  • 60 g/ oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 50 g/ oz/scant ½ cup strong white flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 200 g/7 oz good-quality soft marzipan, ideally 50:50
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder, sifted
  • 2 tbsp blanched hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas 2. Grease and flour a deep 20cm/8in loose-bottomed cake tin.
    2. To make the pain de gênes, put the marzipan and butter in a food mixer fitted with a paddle, or use a bowl with an electric hand whisk, and beat for 5 minutes until soft and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure that they are properly incorporated before adding the next one. When all the eggs have been added, continue to beat for at least 20 minutes until white and fluffy. Add the flour and baking powder and fold in very gently with a large metal spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top. Bake for 35–40 minutes until risen and golden. To check the cake is ready, insert a skewer through the deepest part and if it comes out clean then it is cooked. If not, bake for a further 5 minutes and check again. Remove from the oven, put on a wire rack to cool slightly, then turn out of the tin and leave to cool completely.
    3. While the cake is baking, make the rosemary and tonka bean crème anglaise. Put the milk and cream in a saucepan over a medium heat, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Add the rosemary leaves, half the chilli and the tonka bean, stir to combine, then cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
    4. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Return the pan of infused cream and milk to a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, then pass through a sieve (strainer) onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Discard the solids in the sieve. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 5–8 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon (otherwise you’ll get scrambled eggs!) until it starts to thicken. You will be able to tell when the crème anglaise is ready if, when you run two fingers down the back of the spoon, the two lines don’t immediately join. Stir in the remaining chilli. Serve the pain de gênes cut into wedges with a generous spoonful of the crème anglaise.

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