This version of a traditional cake from Brittany, France is really a celebration of the glorious butter produced by western France’s world famous dairy cows. And don’t get me started on the Normandy cheeses – you’ll be pleased to know that there’s no Camembert in this cake but the very thought of those luscious, oozing cheeses has me almost swooning, which isn’t surprising as I have Normandy blood in my veins.
I’ve included a touch of Western Slope Colorado as well – some of the most delicious raspberry preserves I’ve ever eaten, produced by Gray Acres in Paonia, made with the very best Colorado raspberries; not overly sweet, they add an explosion of pure fruit that nicely complements the rich buttery cake.
I should also point out that this is something you would indulge in only occasionally, as it contains a lot of egg yolk as well as a big hunk of butter – that said, it’s simple to make (plus chilling time) and the end result is crunchy, chewy and moist with an incredible buttery richness.
BTW, you do end up with a lot of leftover egg white which would be a shame to waste, so freeze them in ice cube trays then transfer to a sealed container until you’re ready to use. One egg white is approximately equal in size to one ice cube. Just defrost them at room temp for about 30 minutes, as and when you need them.
BRETON GATEAU (Brittany Butter Cake)
8 oz / 227g of self-rising flour
4oz / 113g of fine golden cane sugar
4oz / 113g of icing sugar, sifted
8oz / 227g of lightly salted butter (preferably European)
5 medium-large egg yolks
¾ teaspoon of pure vanilla
4.5oz / 125g of best quality low sugar raspberry (or strawberry) jam
1 egg yolk blended with 1 teaspoon water for an egg wash
Combine the flour, butter and both sugars in a processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Stir the vanilla into the egg yolks and add this to the butter-sugar-flour mixture – pulse again until you have a sticky dough.
Scoop it out and wrap it in cling film – chill for a minimum of 2 hrs or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C
Butter or grease an 8-9inch (20cm) loose-base cake tin. Divide the dough in half and between two layers of clingfilm, roll each half into a circle to fit the tin (roll the top layer slightly larger so you and press the edges down the sides). Press the base dough into place using a piece of cling film, smoothing it out evenly.
Stir the jam to loosen it a bit and spread it over the surface of the base dough to within ½ inch / 1cm of the edge.
Roll out the rest of the dough into a slightly larger circle (also between 2 layers of clingfilm) and place it on top of the jam, smoothing and tucking it in nicely – I use a fork to crimp the edges to make a tight seal. Brush the surface with the egg wash, using it all.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until you have a deep golden, crusty top. Run a knife around the edge to loosen it in the pan and allow it to cool before turning the cake out. Note, it will sink a bit in the middle.
Once cooled, remove it from the cake pan. You can make this a couple of days ahead as it keeps very well in an airtight container.