First on the First: Gateau Basque

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For the second time this summer, a First on the First challenge lent itself beautifully to a holiday weekend. In my opinion, this month’s challenge, Gateau Basque, is best enjoyed on the deck at the beach house, chatting with family and friends over a cup of coffee.

Gateau Basque, as the translation of its name suggests, originated in the Basque region of France. In fact, it’s so popular and such a source of pride in the area that there’s even a museum dedicated to the dessert! Its rich crust tastes similar to a shortbread and can be filled with pastry cream or black cherry jam. The key to determining what’s inside is the pattern on top of the tart — a crosshatch pattern for cream and a Basque cross for jam.

Because my taste- test team has a few members who aren’t particularly fond of cherries, I chose the pastry cream filling (also developed for a First on the First challenge!) and transformed the cherry preserves into a sauce used as an optional topping.

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Click Here to Print This Recipe.


For the Pastry

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg beaten with a splash of water for glaze

For the Filling

  • 3.4 oz. box instant French vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pint whipping cream, whipped

For the Sauce

  • 1 cups cherry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch salt


    For the Pastry

    • In a small bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
    • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and extracts. Add dry ingredients and beat until combined.
    • Split dough in two, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate discs for at least three hours.


    For the Filling

    • Mix pudding and heavy cream; refrigerate until firm.
    • Fold in whipped pint of whipping cream.

    Putting It Together

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 8-inch round cake pan; set aside.
    • Roll one layer to fit bottom of pan. Fit into pan, allowing any excess dough to run up the sides of the pan.
    • Pipe pastry cream onto bottom pastry layer, leaving one inch of dough bare around the border.
    • Roll second layer and place over top of filling. Press top and bottom layers of dough together.
    • Using a sharp knife, decorate top layer of dough with crosshatch pattern, if desired.


    • Brush the top of dough with egg glaze and bake for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
    • Cool for 5 minutes in pan. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake. Turn the cake over onto a cooling rack; carefully and quickly invert it onto another cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.

    For the Sauce

    • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.


    This recipe was adapted from one published by NPR.

    Don’t forget to check out all the other #FirstOnTheFirst bakers’ Gâteaux Basque this month!

    16 responses

    1. i love the cherry sauce, too! this was a fun challenge. I went with both a cherry filling AND a pastry cream once in my gateau, since I couldn’t decide, but I love how you were able to use both and keep people happy :) We had people over for the weekend, too- it was a perfect treat to serve.

    2. This was just delicious. The pastry, filling, and cherry sauce were so flavorful. With a dollop of vanilla ice cream beside it – wow!

    3. This dessert is simply irresistible! After my second piece, I still wanted to lick the plate. The flaky, almond flavored crust with creamy vanilla filling accompanied by a flavorful cherry jam made an outstanding ending to a meal.

    Let me know what you think!

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