In honor of this weeks’ Food Network show ….”America’s Best Baker”….I decided ( In spite of the heat!) to bake the same dessert the contestants had to make for the finale. A Basque cake. For those of you that saw the episode…you will remember that this is a filled cake(?) with trademark decorative scoring on the top of an egg-washed cookie type crust. Here’s a pic…..

Gateau Basque is the basic Basque, containing only 2 components…a tender cookie-like crust, and a simple pastry cream. If you watched the TV episode, you heard that Basque Cake (as it’s called) can be personalized by the typical addition of jellies, fruit pieces, even nuts. Traditionalists also frequently serve it with brandied cherries. The scoring of the top pattern is also a very individual thing, with the standard being a criss-cross pattern made with a fork. The top is expected to crack, due to the expansion of the pastry cream, but it will fall again as it cools. Here’s how mine turned out…..

As you can see, I made it my own by adding a layer of apricot preserves under my pastry cream. A pretty easy dessert to make, with minimal ingredients, the only trick to it may be in the assembly. But that is also where the creative fun is ! The taste is rich and buttery, so actually the addition of fruit or jam helps to balance that. A hit !!!

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