Gateau Basque

Photo: Yossy Arefi
1 9-inch cake

Basque settlers first arrived in Nevada during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. Originally from the Pyrenees region of France, they brought with them a treasured recipe called gateau Basque, a tart that is traditionally filled with either pastry cream or black cherry jam. Martha's recipe combines the best of both worlds and calls for pastry cream and brandy-soaked cherries. She made this recipe on "Martha Bakes" episode 710.


For the pastry cream

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon brandy

For the cake

  • ½ cup dried tart cherries

  • 2 tablespoons brandy

  • Unbleached all-purpose flour, for work surface

  • Martha's Pate Brisee

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. Make the pastry cream: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk together milk and egg yolks in a glass measuring cup. Add milk mixture to the saucepan, along with butter. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Continue to cook until it comes to a boil. Let boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla and brandy.

  2. Strain pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, whisk until smooth.

  3. Make the cake: Combine cherries and brandy in a small bowl; let soak 1 hour.

  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk pate brisee to a 13-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom leaving edges to overhang. Freeze 15 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pastry cream in a large bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula to loosen. Pour into chilled crust, spreading evenly with an offset spatula. Drain cherries and scatter evenly over pastry cream.

  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining disk of pate brisee to a 13-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Score surface in a diamond pattern with the edge of a ruler. Lightly brush overhanging edge with egg and top with scored pastry. Press to seal and trim dough along edge of tart pan. Lightly brush top with egg wash. Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 20 minutes on a wire rack. Remove tart ring and cool completely on rack. Serve at room temperature.

Related Articles