Gâteau Basque

Gâteau Basque | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
“I do think you have to change with the times in a way that renews your core essence, not abandons it. To change for the sake of change—without an anchor—that is mere faddishness. It will only lead you further astray.
-Richard C. Morais, The Hundred-Foot Journey

A few days ago DreamWorks approached me to create a post inspired by their new movie The Hundred-Foot Journey. I eagerly accepted because a) Helen Mirren is in it and b) I had a good reason to make gâteau basque, with a twist. The movie is a charming tale that interweaves food and love, and two very different cultures. It comes out August 8th so I haven’t seen it yet, but I was smitten by the trailer, and saw it got two thumbs up from Food Loves Writing, who viewed it this past weekend. I also started the book yesterday, trying to finish it before I see it in the theater.
Gâteau Basque | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
So here is gâteau basque, a French dessert from the Basque region of France. I made a Chai tea pastry cream for the filling, which is very untraditional, but in the spirit of The Hundred-Foot Journey, I decided to change things up. “Never be afraid of trying something new, Hassan…It is the spice of life.”
Gâteau Basque | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Gâteau Basque with Chai Tea Pastry Cream

For the cake, I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from her book, Around My French Table. I didn’t change the base of the cake at all, so I will send you to  NPR for the recipe, which can be found here. I did mess up her pastry cream a bit, infusing it with Chai tea, and my changes are found below.

This cake a bit crumbly and a little bit dry, but not a ‘bad’ dry. It definitely is best served with tea or coffee. Traditionally it is made with either a layer of pastry cream, or a layer of cherry jam. Since I was already breaking tradition by using a Chai-infused pastry cream, I went ahead and added layer of jam across the top of the pastry cream as well, and it was wonderful.

Chai Tea Pastry Cream
adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
I may have cheated a teensy bit here – I used a high-quality loose leaf Chai tea instead of black tea and fresh spices. I thought it turned out great.

3 tablespoons loose leaf Chai tea
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

Put the tea in a tea ball infuser or a small coffee filter sealed shut, and put it in a small sauce pan along with the milk. Heat over medium until simmering, and then shut off the heat and let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea ball, and turn the heat back up, bringing the milk to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt until well combined (it will be very thick). Whisking continuously, slowly pour in 1/4 cup of the hot milk (this will temper the yolks). Still whisking, add the rest of the milk in a steady stream. Put the saucepan back over medium heat, and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly and vigorously. Keep the mixture at a boil (still whisking!) for 1-2 minutes, and then take the saucepan off the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract, and then let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter pieces, stirring until it is all completely incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth. Scrape the cream into a bowl, and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate the cream until cold.

  • Reply
    Jill @ Haaps & Barley
    Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Love this!

  • Reply
    Carol at Wild Goose Tea
    Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 12:23 am

    I am not familiar with this either. But I love recipe that include tea as an ingredient. AND I saw the move The 100 foot Journey a few days ago. I highly recommend it. Totally enjoyed. Charming. Every Foodie is going to probably end up buying the movie. HA!

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    Renee @ Awesome on $20
    Friday, August 22, 2014 at 1:23 am

    This looks absolutely beautiful. I love chai, and I think it would compliment the buttery gateau perfectly.

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    Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Quite an impressive recipe and I love the idea of it being inspired by a movie. The image looks mouth watering and can’t wait to try it out on my own.

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    Jess @ The European Food Philosophy
    Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 1:43 am

    This is fantastic! I too only recently saw the trailer and can’t wait till the movie comes out. Looks like I’ll be adding the novel to my reading list also. Love the look of that gâteau. Delicious!

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    Nicole B.
    Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Anytime you have DreamWorks contact you about creating a post based off a new movie, you know life is pretty good! I’ve never had gâteau basque before, but it looks amazing. Chai is one of my favorites so I know this recipe will have an amazing spice to it. Great idea!

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    Friday, August 15, 2014 at 12:00 am

    I’ve made gateau basque exactly once. It’s good, rich and elegant, but not terribly exciting. I think the chai pastry cream would give it that extra “oomph” to turn into something perfect. This sounds incredible!

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    Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Dreamworks? Wow, so exciting! I can’t imagine a more delciosu dessert. The addition of chai makes this gateau basque spicy and fresh. I can’t wait to try it!

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    thermomix recipe
    Monday, August 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    one of my best cake. I live in this french region and this gateau basque is wonderful, but not easy to cook well 😉

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    Monday, August 11, 2014 at 4:04 am

    I love Chai Tee and tha’t why I definitely have to dry this pie! It looks delicious 🙂

  • Reply
    Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 9:26 am

    How exciting! Helen Mirren would approve, I’m sure!

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    Sabrina - A spoonful of Photography
    Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I’ve only had gateau basque once during a short trip to Paris, so it might not even have been the whole “real deal” taste, yet it was to die for! The second I spotted this beauty on instagram I was right back there, munching on thise super fine treat – so first of all thanks for that! But you have also added some chai spices? Just genius! I can’t find any words to specify my excitement, but this goodie just got scrabbled right on top of my to-bake list ;-). Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring Sarah!

  • Reply
    Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    This looks and sounds delicious. I am a sucker for anything with Chai- so you’ve sold it to me. That movie seems easy to draw inspiration from, thats for sure!

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    Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    gosh, this looks great and I simply can’t wait to see the move for Helen Mirren is just perfection. As is this cake!

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    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I love your take on gâteau basque, especially because it involves chai tea. A slice of this would be a fabulous accompaniment to the film.

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    Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I’m not familiar with gateau basque but what would be a better reason to try out this recipe 🙂 And now I want to see the movie 😉

  • Reply
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I love how you take that rustic cake to modern times!. What an interesting culinary mix !

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    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Oooooo…I want a slice of this. And to watch this movie!!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I love using chai spices in European desserts. This looks lovely! Now I want to see the movie even more!

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    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I saw the trailer and was drooling by the end. This is the first I’ve heard of gâteau basque, but it sounds wonderful. And Dorie makes the most wonderful treats (such a fan of that book).

  • Reply
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    This is a picture perfect gateau basque, if ever I’ve seen one! I would love to go to the Basque country one day – it seems like such a beautiful part of the world. In the meantime, I’ll keep armchair travelling, with posts like this and movies like the 100 foot journey.

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Gorgeous, and I LOVE the idea of chai cream. My coffee’s been a bit lonely lately so now I know how to keep it company! 😉

  • Reply
    shanna mallon
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Aw, I love this. Perfect for the movie’s themes!

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    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    This looks delicious!! I definitely want to check out the movie!! What an honor to be approached to make this – very cool! Magical photos as well!

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    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 11:26 am

    adore this post. such gorgeous photographs! xo

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    J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Very appropriate fusion, sounds like it’d be nice with…more chai tea? haha.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 11:00 am

    The book is delicious! You certainly did it justice with this rustic-gorgeous gâteau. Congrats!! xo

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 9:18 am

    The first time I ever tasted this cake was in a french bakery as a child; I simply am delighted for you to re create that memory for me. It is not surprize to me that DreamWorks approached you; I would think of you when it comes to beautiful food. Stunning as always!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 9:01 am

    This is just gorgeous! I have seen some recipes of gateau basque and even once made it – with cherry filling. But the Chai Tee filling in such pie I see for the first time) And it is absolutely fantastic)).

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 8:43 am

    This is so incredibly wonderful. Count me as one more who hasn’t ever had a gateau basque — but now really, really wants to! But definitely this version with the chai pastry cream. Thank you so much for sharing this! (Also, a DreamWorks collaboration is just too cool.)

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 8:20 am

    This is so cool. I have never heard of gateau basque, but is sounds so good! Perfect for this movie, which I not cannot wait to see!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I recently saw a trailer for that movie as well, and it does look great!

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 7:50 am

    i have been drooling over this cake on your instagram!!!!! so excited to see the recipe. i have never had a gateau basque!!!! i feel a date night coming on… this cake + that movie.

    happy tuesday, sarah!!!!

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