Gâteau Basque

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      1 hr 45

Appears in

The French Market

The French Market

By Joanne Harris and Fran Warde

Published 2005

  • About

This delicious, moist cake originates from the Basque region, where almonds are plentiful and are used in many types of pastry.


For pâte à l’amande

  • 225 g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 300 g plain flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 150 g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 3-4 egg yolks, beaten


    Butter a 25 cm high-sided flan ring and baking sheet.

    Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ground almonds, icing sugar and lemon zest, and mix in thoroughly. Whisk the egg yolks, add and mix in with a round-bladed knife using a cutting motion until it all comes together to form a pastry ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Dust a cool surface with icing sugar, roll out three-quarters of the pastry to at least 5 cm larger than the flan ring, then carefully roll the pastry on to the rolling pin and drape over the flan ring on the baking sheet. Mould the pastry into the ring, trim off any excess with a knife and chill for a further 30 minutes. Roll out the remaining pastry to fit the top of the flan ring, cover and place in the fridge to chill.

    Warm the milk in a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk. Mix the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, then stir in the flour and almonds. Pour in the hot milk, stirring all the time. Return the mixture to the pan and place over a low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, and it will thicken some more.

    Heat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Spread the jam over the base of the pastry, add the cool custard and smooth over the top. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg and place the lid on top. Trim the edges and crimp together. Score the surface of the pastry with a knife in a criss-cross pattern, brush with egg and bake for 45 minutes. Check that the top does not brown too much – cover with tin foil if necessary. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes, and dust with icing sugar before serving.