As you know, I am Basque. I often times think about what it means to label yourself as some thing or to be from some where. I know that my sense of being Basque is attached to the emotions I felt during my childhood and that are not intrinsic to the land. So do I love the land or do I just long for those childhood feelings? Who knows. According to many experts, the later. But how can I separate one from the other? That’s all we know is what we feel. Grey rainy days, mud on my wellies, chilly cool June mornings on the last day of school before summer vacation, arguing over “Before Sunrise” with Arkaitz and Amaia until 3 am, Christmas Eve rush at the bakery… I could go on and on. My heart is holding on to all those memories.
And today is my mom’s birthday. I won’t say how old she is although I doubt she would mind. She looks 10 years younger than her real age, with beautiful shiny hair, not a wrinkle in sight and porcelain skin (why didn’t I get the good genes? My grandmother’s genes). We have never been gentle with each other. My father has certainly been the touchy feely one of the bunch. But my mother loves me in a different way. She loves me in silence, if that makes any sense. And that’s how I love her back.
So this Gateau Basque is for her. This cake is actually from the French side of the Basque Country, from Lapurdi. It is a very soft, crumbly, sable dough that is flavored with a little rum and baked in tart rings and filled with black cherry preserves. Some versions have a layer of pastry cream inside, some don’t. Today I am sticking to the recipe I know.
makes 4 tart rings
100 grams organic unsalted butter
90 grams sugar
1 organic egg
175 grams all purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp dark rum
pinch of salt
Black cherry preserves
Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the egg and mix. Add the rum, then the flour with the salt. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap in let it rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thick and cut circles that will fit in your tart rings. Dock the bottom of the tart and fill with black cherry preserves. Top with another disk of dough and press on the edges to seal the tart. Brush the top with the egg yolk and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
For other interpretations of Gateau Basque, you can go here, or here.
Zorionak amatxu… mosu handi, handi bat gure partez!