I was working fast to pull together a quick summer supper a couple weeks ago, which would end with Gateau Basque from a recent Dorie Greenspan book, "Around My French Table." I had eaten this buttery cake many times when I was in the Basque region some years ago. It's essentially two rounds of shortbread that sandwich jam or pastry cream.
I would have had plenty of time to assemble the cake if I had not decided to go to a pilates class that afternoon, then walk a few miles on the treadmill, and return to my kitchen minutes ahead of the guests. The two pastry rounds were in the fridge and I quickly brushed them with egg glaze, cross-hatched the top, and put them into the oven to bake. When they emerged I cut triangles. The results: Wow!
Dorie Greenspan's Gateau Basque Baked as Cookies
Makes 24 large triangles
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 extra egg, beaten with a pinch of salt (for glaze)
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (or whisk, if necessary), beat the butter with the brown and granulated sugars at medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl. The mixture may look curdles, that's OK.
4. With the mixer set on low speed, beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing only until incorporated. The dough is soft and sticky.
5. Place half the dough on one sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and roll the dough to an 8-inch round, lifting off the plastic wrap often so it doesn?t form creases in the dough. Prick the dough well all over and refrigerate. Repeat with the other piece of dough and refrigerate.
6. Set the oven at 350 degrees.
7. Brush the rounds with beaten egg. To crosshatch: Using the back of a fork, mark the rounds across in one direction. Then make a set of marks diagonally to the first set, still using the fork.
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the rounds are golden and firm. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes. While they are still warm, use a long sharp knife to cut the round into quarters. Cut each quarter into 3 triangles. Separate on the baking sheet and set aside to cool completely. Store in an airtight tin. Sheryl Julian. Adapted from "Around My French Table"
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.