A Sour Cherry Gâteau Basque And The Berries We Brought Back From Vermont

I’m not the kind of person who buys souvenirs when I travel. I’m not much of a collector in general, except my props I suppose. I do not like trinkets on my shelves or clutter, but one thing I do love is to discover the foods of the region. I always bring something back.

When we visited the Brattelboro farmers’ market in Vermont last weekend, I loaded up on all kind of berries.

Red currants are my weakness. So hard to find in Florida. I had to make sure to bring some home along with sour cherries and black raspberries.

I have been writing at night when the house is quiet.

I am two weeks away from turning in my manuscript. Completely submerged in writing and editing with hours spent in front of the computer. The kitchen becomes my getaway. My place of relaxation and even if it’s preparing simple meals, it helps me clear my mind.

So when we returned from Vermont, I spent my free time baking with the berries I brought back home.

One of the pastry stands at the Brattleboro market had a very tempting gâteau basque on display (unfortunately not gluten-free). I turned to Nadia and said “I will be making it at home”. And so I did.

The classic gâteau basque is a cross between a cake and a tart. Thick and tender shortdough encasing pastry cream and cherry preserves. (You can find a version I made years ago here).

My recipe is a gluten and dairy free version of the classic. Crunchy cake exterior with a creamy interior filled with pastry cream and fresh sour cherries. Everyone loved it.

I also made a red currant and sour cherry flan tart with leftover tart dough and custard for a recipe I was testing for the book. It was delicious as well. Anything with red currants is amazing in my book. I love the slight sour punch it adds to anything sweet.

There were also berry, ladyfinger and pastry cream verrines. I have had the ladyfingers in the freezer for a while after testing them for the book.

Freezer-cleaning desserts I call them.

I also wanted to tell you about a story I wrote a few weeks ago for one of my favorite allergen-free magazines, Living Without. The issue will not be out until October, but one of my photos for that issue has been selected for the cover (cover #1). You can vote here.

Hope you like it!

Gluten and Dairy Free Sour Cherry And Pastry Cream Gâteau Basque

Makes two 6-inch cakes

Pastry Cream

1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
2 cardamom pods, cracked
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 g) natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons (15 g) cornstarch

Combine the coconut milk, cardamom, and vanilla bean in medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Return back to heat and bring it back to a light simmer.

In the meantime, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Strain the simmering milk over the yolks and whisk immediately so the eggs don’t curdle. Return custard back to the pot and cook stirring constantly, over medium high heat until it thickens. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl and cool.


1 cup (140 g) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (70 g) millet flour
1/3 cup (35 g) almond flour
1/3 cup (55 g) potato starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup (250 g) natural cane sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups sour cherries, pitted

Pre-heat oven to 325F. Grease 2 (6-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla seeds, olive oil, and coconut milk. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk to combine.

Spread a quarter of the batter on the bottom of each cake pan. Spread evenly. Spread half of the pastry cream over it, then half of the sour cherries on top. Top with the remaining cake batter.

Bake the cakes for 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

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76 Responses to “A Sour Cherry Gâteau Basque And The Berries We Brought Back From Vermont”

  1. Katie says:

    Beautiful pictures, it looks delicious! Best of luck with your manuscript! xo

  2. El says:

    I remember reading your old post about your mom’s birthday. How quickly time flies. Wow. This cake looks beautiful too.

    Just voted. Gorgeous cover!

  3. Wonderful clicks! That cake must divine. It would make a perfect teatime treat.



  4. beautiful aran, we have currants going into a galette!

  5. Gretchen says:

    I have a weakness for berries too. I was so happy to discover black raspberries growing on the hill in our new house’s yard! It was a sweet surprise since the hill was covered with snow when we first moved in.

  6. Nisrine says:

    Beautiful cake. I like the sound of sour cherries in there. It must taste amazing.

  7. tinajo says:

    Beautiful, beautiful and delicious pics – makes me smile! :-)

  8. notyet100 says:

    wish i could taste this,..

  9. Jean says:

    Just discovered your blog; definitely adding it to my regular reads. Your photographs are gorgeous and I LOVE that all of your recipes are gluten-free. Amazing.

  10. your photos are an absolute inspiration for me… your blog too. i’m sure you get this a lot – but i just wanted you to know that for me, your posts are gorgeous and full of life.

  11. Gorgeous photos!! New here and already a FAN!

  12. MéliMélo says:

    How about the recipes for the Basque cake or anything with raspberries.

    I have a raspberry patch behind the house and am presently growing blueberries.

    Merci beaucoup.

  13. Kimberley says:

    You’re inspiring me to try my hand at gluten-free baking. Everything you make is just exquisite. And I share your love of red currants.

  14. Such divine styling – thank you for inspiring me!

  15. Waw, amazing photos. I just love your cakes…

  16. Manderley says:

    Me encanta el estilismo de las fotografías, son preciosas!!! Y el menaje que usas, esos vasos de porcelana son divinos. Y bueno, las recetas son estupendas, soy fan incondicional de tu blog!


    PD: yo además de comprar comida cuando voy de viaje, sí me traigo algo característico que no haya aquí en Málaga, España.

  17. Merisi says:

    The cake looks delicious!
    I love anything with red currants – thank heaven they are abundant here.

    i went and voted for my #1 cover. ;-)

  18. Seanna Lea says:

    I have a huge box of currants at home. I was going to make jam, but now maybe I should make something else!

  19. El- I can’t believe you were reading my blog then. Time flies!

    Nadia- oh my! i know it will be delicious and Elle will approve.

    Gretchen- wow… lucky lady!! i’m jealous.

    Denise- you can make this cake and fill it with raspberry compote. It would be delicious.

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  20. Andrea says:

    Your photos are great! I love everything about it, speaks freshness with a stylish mix!

  21. Maureen says:

    I work all the time and when I need to clear my head, it’s off to the kitchen I go.

    Your cake sounds wonderful!

  22. Both desserts look beautiful, how fun to bake with currants.

  23. Crystal says:

    Wow, I have all these ingredients in my fridge right now. Project for tomorrow. :)

  24. Mmmmm… your photos make everything mouthwatering! Sounds like a great holiday

  25. Anny says:

    Your photos are always so beautiful and inspiring! I really love your style – I actually find it very therapeutic to go through your posts :) Thank you!

  26. Heidi says:

    I just discovered your blog and wow! Gorgeous photos (what type of camera do you use btw) and your story telling is lovely, and the recipes – just what I needed with a gluten-free family to cook for! I look forward to exploring your past blogs for quite some time. Hx

  27. Cristina says:

    I love your cake… the almond mix with de flour it’s perfect! and then, the berries colours are so beautiful… Congrats ;) Your pictures always are great.
    Cheers from Barcelona, Cristina.

  28. Heidi- these were taken with a canon 5d. Thank you!

    Thanks everyone!

  29. Beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing this amazing gluten free recipe! I am just starting to learn to love cherries ;) I usually have them with chocolate.

  30. I am a newbie to your blog, I discovered it through twitter, one of the people I follow, follows you… and I fell in love with your blog and the pictures! Amazing! I have bookmarked your blog for future reference :)

    Also voted for the cover and good luck with the manuscript!



  31. Hafsa says:

    that looks too good! i need to make it as well!

  32. This is my kind of dessert… one that so beautifully highlights the seasons best ingredients.

  33. I love the idea of using coconut milk for pastry cream! I am sure it has a wonderful rich flavor. An this is such a pretty dessert!

  34. Love your blog-beautiful, so inspiring. Voted for your cover!

  35. gorgeous currants :) my boyfriend from England is obsessed with them. I bought some last year but they were SO tart, I would def need to bake with them or sweeten them up a bit. They sure are gorgeous to photograph.

  36. Divya says:

    Gorgeous pics. Good luck with the manuscript!

  37. Agnès says:

    good luck for these two weeks then! I find exactly the same thing with cooking… a mind-clearer and it totally relaxes me after hours of writing… love your pics!

  38. Janet says:

    Beautiful pics. Love the twist on the old classic.

    My neighbors are too neighborly. Nosy as hec. One drops by regularly with her problems. Any ideas about how to handle her? She makes me want to move!!

  39. Janet- I’m sorry you are not happy with your neighbor. Perhaps just saying you are busy and cannot meet right then?


  40. Reem says:

    Your photographs are breathtaking, I’m sure you get this all the time but I just wanted to tell you how beautiful and inspirational your blog is. An ofcourse red currants, how can anyone not like them right. Will try the recipe soon.

  41. Mikey F. says:

    God I love to see Basque Gateau in the blogosphere.

    El pastel vasco sigue siendo mi postre favorito y todavia no he conseguido perfeccionar la tecnica y la receta. Intentare en el link anterior que subes.

    Eskerrik asko, y suerte con el libro. Por Getxo llegara uno algun dia.

    Un saludo,

  42. Reem- much appreciated!
    Mikey- se agradece que aparezcan otros vizcainos por aqui. Eskerrik asko!

  43. Mary Gabel says:

    Your photos look so dreamy and delicious.

  44. Chamomile says:

    Pure poetry for palates and for eyes.

  45. Lucia says:

    Ruby and sour redcurrants are growing and growing and growing in my garden. I love their colour, so brilliant and fresh. Thanks for these new ideas, I’ll go and pick them!

  46. Minna says:

    I tried to look for your email but couldn’t found it? I have few questions about photographing. I know propably busy with more important thing but I really hope you can help! :)

  47. wow, love the color scheme of this post and your cover of Living Without blows the other two away. Best of luck! I voted.

  48. Janet says:

    Thank-you for this recipe! As an ex-pastry chef/baker, who has become gluten-intolerant, I miss making and eating the classic gateau basque. I made this recipe exactly as written, and found it delicious, but crumbly. Have you omitted xantham gum from the cake for a reason? I would like to try it again with some gum in the cake to reduce crumbling. What are your thoughts?

  49. Janet- happy to hear you tried it. I purposely omitted xanthan gum as I don’t tolerate it well and I don’t like the gummy cakes it produces. Mine cake wasn’t too crumbly at all. Did you use superfine brown rice flour or regular brown rice flour? I find that regular brown rice flour is too crumbly. Try the superfine. Has great texture. Thanks!

  50. Janet says:

    Thank-you for the tip about the superfine brown rice flour. I did use the regular brown rice flour- I have not yet been able to find the superfine. Is there a particular brand you recommend, and where do you purchase it? I agree about the xantham gum – I would prefer to use it minimally as well, but sometimes it does make a difference. I made your lemon shortbread tart with apricots and pistachios last week and it was insanely delicious. The pastry did not have xantham in it either, and I was surprised that it did’t crumble. Can’t wait for your book!

  51. Janet- I’m so glad you liked the tart. It’s one of my favorites. The superfine brown rice flout I buy is from Authentic Foods and I get it from amazon.com. It’s a bit more expensive but SO worth it. Has texture of wheat flour and it doesn’t have the grittiness of regular brown rice flour. Worth every penny if you bake a lot.

    Thank you!

  52. mohamed says:

    hello good post i like it so much

  53. Esti says:

    hola aran,
    llevo días, semanas! queriendo dejarme caer por aquí o escribirte un mail. Espero que estés bien. Me ha dado mucha envidia tu escapada a Vermont. ¡Mucha suerte con el libro! Tengo ganas de saber cómo es :)

    Te mando un fuerte abrazo. Me acuerdo mucho de tí.

  54. Tout cela est parfait, couleur douceur et saveurs
    Je te souhaite un bon dimanche, le soleil n’est pas au rendez-vous chez moi, je patiente


  55. Esti- ya estareis de camino a Zarautz. A mi no me queda nada. A ver si rate año nos vemos. Mosus!

  56. SugarBeam says:

    These red currants are beautiful, I absolutely love the way they look dusted with powdered sugar, thank you for this wonderful recipe :-)

    kk at SugarBeams


  57. Anonymous says:

    It was easy to vote for your cover because it is storytelling and a composition behind. Others they show only a “picture”. I wish you good luck!

  58. Oh, those currants are so, so sweet. We never baked with currants at culinary school (I wrote all about it, here: “Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood” – http://t.co/6yZyMNf), but I wish we had. These look like jewels.

  59. Love the napkin you are using.

  60. megan lane says:

    i’ve never seen berries like that before. they are gorgeous!!

  61. Fantastisk fin blogg du har :)
    så flotte bilder,

    Sjekk ut min mat/bake blogg :-D

  62. That looks so yummy! I wish I could grow currants, but alas, they are banned in Southern Maine and New Hampshire. I guess they carry a fungus that can kill the White Pine.

  63. Absolutely beautiful pics! Good luck with th epublication of your book!

  64. I just love that you cook with red currants, a berry I thought until recently was only good for jelly. Your photography touches something deep in my soul, such beauty, thank you!

  65. I really love the freshness of your photography!

  66. Coco says:

    oh how I wish the SCD diet allowed chocolate :( Beautiful as always Aran!

  67. Mme. H. says:

    Love your French title! (I’m a French teacher and avid francophile). Your beautiful photos drew me in – then, I discovered your gluten-free recipes. I just switched to a GF diet – what synchronicity! Merci for being online!

  68. lamar says:

    Beautiful pictures, it looks delicious


  69. hi!!!

    ur site s awesome….really ;) thanks!

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