Zorionak for two reasons: I’m about to graduate! In T-minus 12 days (but, like, who’s counting?) I’ll walk across the stage and then never be in school ever ever again.
And Zorionak for turning 22 next week! Yup, it’s my birthday, and what better way to celebrate than with some cake?
Yep, that’s right. A tried and true tradition of the French Basque country for May the 14th. I’m feeling hogeita bi.
This cake is a pretty solid cookie-like pastry filled with either cherry preserves or pastry cream (or both, if you’re feeling naughty). Interestingly enough, there’s a special indication to find out what’s inside: cross hatches on the top pastry for krema, an etched lauburu for gereziak. What do you do when you have both? A lauburu, because you wanted it to be super Basque for your classmates and cross hatches just weren’t going to cut it (get it? because you cut it into the pastry? haha, I slay myself #dadjokes)
So how do you make this delicious, buttery culinary masterpiece?
Get some butter, eggs, flour, sugar, and lemon zest and make yourself some pastry dough. If you’re lucky enough you own a food processor. But if you’re poor and in college like me, you made that with a fork.
So now that you’ve got your dough all mushed up and eventually rolled into a ball, you refrigerate it for a while to let that lemon zest work its magic. Then you get your rolling pin (I actually own one of these!) and roll that baby out on your sterilized kitchen counter to put into your tart pan/pie plate/makeshift-Gâteau-basque-receptacle.
WAIT! The best part.
Krema: sugar, egg yolks, milk, butter, flour, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and some rum (it cooks out, for all you teetotalers) and a smile. Mix up that sugar, egg yolk, and flour. Carefully boil that esnea, pour one into the other (we call this tempering. Scrambled eggs are not part of this recipe). Add some cornstarch. It will thicken up into delicious, American pudding like substances.
Add that vanilla extract and rum and let that heat up a little bit. Baby, you’ve got yourself pastry cream. Now chill it.
Pastry dough. Cherry preserves. Pastry cream. Pastry dough. Carve messy lauburu with a knife that’s probably not sharp enough to complete the task elegantly. Bake for 45 minutes at 325ºF and then basque (I mean bask! hahahah. ha.) in all its glory.
With that, I’ll leave you, saying it was a great semester learning the Basque language and culture. And, if you don’t have a graduation, birthday, or other special occasion to make a cake, make one up, because it’s spring.